Exercising a dog on a lead – how hard is it?

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This topic contains 19 replies, has 19 voices, and was last updated by  kat 8 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #860

    yuppie
    Participant

    Serious question – how hard is it to exercise a dog on a lead?

    I ask as once again I have been accosted by a dog running amok in a public place off the lead, only to be advised by the owners that the dog “won’t hurt you”.

    When I pointed out the Dogs on Lead signs the owner advised that the dog had to be off the lead to be able to run around and exercise properly.

    How easy is it to exercise a dog whilst it is kept on a lead? Or are the owners just lazy inconsiderate bar stewards?

  • #861

    paki
    Participant

    only to be advised by the owners that the dog “won’t hurt you”.

    That always pissed me off.

    Their hellhound rushes at you, barking, slavering, baring teeth, with glowing red eyes. And somehow I’m not supposed to be bothered by this.

    Train your f*cking dog not to do that, you cretin.

  • #862

    jenny
    Participant

    @paki Yep it’s thanks to an incident like this when I was tiny that I now have a real phobia of dogs.

    In reply to the OP free running is far better exercise and means you don’t have to be out in the cold for so long walking the dog. Not that this is an excuse for not having the dog under proper control, or ignoring signs says it must be on a lead.

  • #863

    nomad
    Participant

    What Jenny said – they do get more exercise off-lead, but only a selfish arse doesn’t get their dog under control when required. My dog’s quite reactive to other dogs when she’s on her lead, so I keep her out of the way of other dogs and focus on distracting her, not helped when other dog owners let their dogs bound up to her – at which point she goes bananas and they look really offended. It’s not very helpful. Just because I love my dog, doesn’t mean everyone else has to.

  • #864

    bill
    Participant

    It is hard for certain dogs, but still possible.

    Our dog needs to run, a long walk does not even come close to equalling a run for him. There’s something calming about the running, it’s not just about how much energy he uses.

    He is not reliable off lead, so we run canicross with him or bike jo with him. These do require more effort, but he stays under control and gets the necessary run. We are working on training him to be reliable off lead too, but we are not there yet.

  • #865

    holycow
    Participant

    Mine couldn’t be trusted off lead for most of his life, so I kept him on the lead unless we were in a secure fenced off area and no one else around. It’s not ideal, but it was the best option for that particular dog.

    Dogs should be under control in public places. Some dogs have good recall and are able to be controlled off the lead. Many don’t. I’m a dog lover, but I think that if a dog isn’t reliable off lead then it shouldn’t be off lead if it’s going to bound up to people.

  • #866

    abdul
    Participant

    How easy is it to exercise a dog whilst it is kept on a lead? Or are the owners just lazy inconsiderate bar stewards?

    Depends exactly what you mean by exercise, the dog and the person.

    Retired greyhound and couch potato owner… no problem. Young collie and pretty much anyone… no chance.

    Not really sure why you’re asking, your issue appears to be the owner’s disregard for rules and no answer you get will change that.

  • #867

    jo
    Participant

    Did the dog actually hurt you? Was the owner correct?

  • #868

    sammy
    Participant

    @jo thats really not the point. If a stranger in the park has a sticky fingered snotty toddler it won’t hurt me if he or she runs up to me and says hello and wipes their fingers on me.

    However it might not be enjoyable for me and so we should train toddlers and dogs not to run up to strangers to say hello without checking if that is OK.

    If they can’t do that then as an adult it is our responsibilty to hold the child by the hand or use reins. Similarly with a dog keep them on a lead or away from other people.

  • #869

    adam
    Participant

    I love dogs but my children are terrified of them due to a bad experience when they were younger. We have worked so hard to get them to behave calmly around (familiar) dogs, to stand still without screaming and waving their arms – it has been a long process, but important to us since spending some time with dogs can be so good for children. At one point they wouldn’t get out of a car if they remembered seeing a dog at that location before.

    Only one incident with a noisy, large, leaping dog can set us back months… people who walk their dogs off leads, in our local forest and parks, when they are not able to control them, drive me mad. One large dog (to my son it was a wolf) licked my son’s face and while I know he’s unlikely to get bitten in reality, that is so frightening for my son he was shaking.

    These days I put my foot between any off lead dog and my children and I wouldn’t hesitate to kick just for coming close.

  • #870

    raggy
    Participant

    I love to see my dogs run off lead. They get better excercise (I can’t keep up with them charging about) and are free to choose when to sniff when to run, when to charge into a bush after a smell…

    However I have one dog who is only off lead in private and a friend with spaniel and pointer crosses who never lets them off lead due to their prey drive and her location. These dogs get their excercise in canicross, bikejor and on a long line.

    The person who said a young collie could not be happy if never off lead should consider that brain excercise is more important in tiring a dog than physical excercise. If that young collie did some long line excercise, maybe sniffing out a trail or prehidden treats, then maybe some agility, or obedience training or heelwork to music type excercises, then had his food in puzzle feeders or scattered around the garden to find, I suspect he would be more tired than if he had had a charge around the park.

  • #871

    carlson
    Participant

    @raggy Agreed – I think my dog’s favourite part of our walks in local woods is the bit at the end where we do ‘find it’, which involves me throwing her favourite treat (also her mealtime biscuits) and her charging off to find it. She *loves* it. Other dog walkers have commented that they’d like to get their dogs doing the same. It wraps up the walk for her and she gets quite indignant if she doesn’t get to play this game. I know in the past we’ve overlooked the benefits of brain-work – and she’s of a breed that does have a strong prey drive and does require a lot of exercise.

    As an aside, having just returned from the morning walk, I do think extendaleads are an abomination.

  • #872

    eee
    Participant

    As an aside, having just returned from the morning walk, I do think extendaleads are an abomination.

    @carlson Unfortunately, for some dogs they are a necessity. Ours – a norfolk terrier – is rarely let off the lead due to his tendency to chase runners and cyclists. Even his favourite treat – cheese – doesn’t work in these situations. Blame the owners if you like, but we didn’t get him til he was a year old and so training him has been difficult – he only passed the “easy basics” course on the third attempt ! So maybe we should have him put down and get a puppy……

    As a cyclist and a runner I’m used to having my activities disrupted by other peoples dogs – leads across the track, being barked at, dogs chasing each other all over the trails. Been bitten once – a westie – but apart from that it doesn’t bother me. Rather than see them as an inconvienience, I’ve changed my attitude. So I have to slow down, so what ? I say hello to the dogs, and their owners. I say “No problem” when the owners apologise, and try not to get upset when they don’t.

    But most importantly I find I get pleasure in seeing dogs enjoying themselves. I smile. I might even stop to stroke a dog or ask what sort it is. And I get back from my ride/run full not just of endorphins but also dopamine.

  • #873

    jane
    Participant

    I try to give my two as much “off lead* exercise as poss. It’s more healthy and natural for them.

    It would seem the problem is the laziness of the dog owners in not taking the dogs to a place where “off lead” walking is acceptable.

    Having said that, I’ve been remonstrated with by owners for having my two off leads in dedicated off lead walking areas. Mind you, they are a pair of little bastards.

  • #874

    damon
    Participant

    I am currently working really hard to recall train my dog. I am confident he would not harm anyone and is therefore not a risk off lead. He also does not behave in a remotely threatening manner (he tends to bounce towards people/ dogs when excited rather than run). I do have to let him off in order to train him (he has 100% recall on a long line/ in garden already) so it is the only way to progress. He has come on massively just this week with recalling when other dogs are around (I’m very proud of him).

    I work hard to try to be aware of my surroundings, but it really doesn’t help when runners and cyclists come right up behind me without any effort to make their presence known, and thus startling me and the dog, and giving me no time to recall him. We all have to share these spaces, so a little consideration from all sides would be nice. I ran regularly before getting a dog and would never run up behind one that was not aware I was there… Self preservation…I have never been bitten.

    Obviously having a dog off lead in a area signposted as dogs on leads only is completely different and the owner should follow the signs or go elsewhere.

  • #875

    Aarav
    Participant

    We have a couple of German shorthaired pointer pups 4 months old. They are enthusiastic, energetic and a bit bitey in the way pups are. They are lovely and won’t hurt you but they might enthusiastically nip you or scratch you with their sharp little puppy claws – both of which are completely unacceptable behaviours. As dog owners we fully understand we have to teach these pups good manners and acceptable behaviours – dogs should be controlled by their owners not the other way round (although sometimes it’s hard not to be coerced by them). Running free is a luxury we have as we have fields and we let them run loose – would I do it in public? not until their manners are excellent and we have sorted out their recall, neither of which we have achieved yet – dogs jumping and barking at strangers in public places counts as an out of control dog in my book – there are no excuses the owner is responsible not the victim. If they do it to people my guess is they’ll do it to livestock and that only ends with tragic results.

  • #876

    girly
    Participant

    I agree dog owners need to take more responsibility for their dogs.

    I’ve been attacked quite a few times now. One was by a neighbour’s dog who I had walked near to for many years speaking to the owners with it running about when I was out walking. One day though it went for me and bit into both my legs. Apparently, with hindsight the owners think it had decided the walking area was an extension of its garden and so was defending the owner’s property.

    Unfortunately went on to attack another two folk who were just near it’s house, but the local dog warden and the police are not taking any action which I do not understand. Years on I still look over my shoulder when I hear his growl/bark to see if he is out running.

    Should I change my walking area? If so that is all the local off road areas I walk/cycle as most dogs are routinely walked off lead around me. Most are little or no problem though a few are a nuisance when they jump up and dirty your trousers for example.

    Some owners though are not interested in controlling their dog(s) as they perceive that no harm is being done. Change how I respond – sure have and am now more defensive and assume that any snarling running dog may bite and so prepared to defend myself. Reduces the enjoyment of a walk in the countryside though even if the dog is friendly overall.

    When an owner gets all defensive though (I have even been threatened by an owner as it was his view that it was my fault for being there on a public track when his dog tried to nip my ankles) it really spoils my trip out.

  • #877

    martin
    Participant

    Let’s flip this on its head slightly….

    When walking in the woods or anywhere ‘open’, I see kids or another dog on a lead, I whistle Lily (a sprocker spaniel, smaller than ANY child), she comes back, goes on the lead. She’s fine and is happy enough there with me. The woods is a natural open environment which is more suited to her, than any human. Yet I put her on a lead so she doesn’t approach anyone that may be worried.

    Yet, I walk in an urban (human) environment, in a street or if I need to go past some shops. People THEN think it’s perfectly acceptable to come running up to her waving hands and loudly ‘AWWWW’ing? Luckily, 99% of the time, she’s used to it and likes the attention. But she has got scared before, and cowered under my legs!

    Ever since a pup, I’ve gently pulled her tail and played with her food, so I’m 99.9% sure she hasn’t got a nasty bone in her body.

    But she is fullt expected (as most of these comments display), to be on a lead and never to approach anybody. YET, it’s perfectly acceptable for people to approach her when she’s on a lead and feeling vulnerable?!

    Think about it.

  • #878

    kat
    Participant

    What Jenny said – they do get more exercise off-lead, but only a selfish arse doesn’t get their dog under control when required. My dog’s quite reactive to other dogs when she’s on her lead, so I keep her out of the way of other dogs and focus on distracting her, not helped when other dog owners let their dogs bound up to her – at which point she goes bananas and they look really offended. It’s not very helpful. Just because I love my dog, doesn’t mean everyone else has to.

    Sadly @nomad, with my dog training hat on, you’re likely reinforcing the behaviour of your dog. Your dog would benefit from socialisation training and positive reinforcement to ignore other dogs while on the lead. Your distraction and concern gives your dog reason to feel something is wrong.

    I’m one of the minority that believes it is up to the owner to make sure their dog is well socialised and not up to other owners whose dogs are socialised to assume everyone else’s are not. Sorry. Dogs naturally are social beings. If they can’t handle other dogs… there’s only one reason.

  • #879

    kat
    Participant

    Often the reason some dogs cannot be trusted off the lead is simply because they are never allowed off the lead. The key is during puppy hood to try to trust the dog. The more time off the lead (in responsible places) the better. The dog learns that being off lead is the norm and on lead the exception. This combined with recall whistle training done in the correct way and utilised only when necessary (not the classic… FIDO FIDO FIDO COME HERE every five seconds that the dog soon learns to ignore) will make the dog a trustworthy and more enjoyable animal to walk.

    I have a whippet. Typically one of the least naturally trustworthy dogs off lead. They are bred to chase. I spent months on her as a puppy. She is fully whistle trained and is fully trained to heel, wait and leave.

    It is not easy, and it takes hours of patience. Some dogs require treats every single time the perform a ‘wait’, a recall or any command (Great Dane, Whippet (I have to carry a tin with me)), some are happy to please and easy to train (Labs, Spaniels). The choice of dog you own should be at least in part influenced by how confident you are you can train it.

    But when anyone claims a ‘dog cant be trusted off the lead’ I’m afraid my brain flicks to the high probability that that is because the owner has not spent the considerable time and effort to make sure it can. And this is why I think people should be required to go to dog training classes with their dog as well as dog behavioural theory classes before owning a dog.

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