Today we were walking somebody’s dog, a small 9 year old mixed breed. We’ll call her M.
M is well trained; she has wonderful recall, doesn’t wander too far and walks perfectly on lead. We’ve also been working on impulse control and introducing a positive interrupter, and she has nailed them. I can make the kissy noise (positive interrupter) and she comes running no matter what she is doing 🙂
Today we walked her along the canal. The path is pretty narrow, with a small grass verge and sometimes trees to the side. We see A LOT of dog walkers, and quite often we see terrible owners treat their dogs badly, or do things that annoy us…today was such a day.
It started almost immediately, with two large black Labs walking behind us. One was very barky and lungy, so we called M towards us. We ducked into the side amid the trees, and I asked her to sit and fed her treats whilst the couple with the Labs passed.
Once they were ahead we carried on walking. About twenty feet ahead one of the Labs squatted to do a number two on the path. The owner of the dog had carried on walking, but he turned and saw his dog doing its’ business. He didn’t move; ten seconds passed and still he stood there. He wasn’t going to pick it up.
Then my partner coughed loudly. The man saw us and immediately walked back towards the poop. He got a trowel out of his rucksack and flicked the dog poo off the path into the grass…SERIOUSLY?!
Firstly this is a busy canal path, with a lot of human traffic. Children frequent this path a lot, to feed the ducks, play in the field and the playpark. I am 99.9% sure that poop is gonna get trodden on.
Secondly, it is against the law not to pick up dog doo on the canal path.
Thirdly there are three poo bins in a 30 minute walk along this canal. This guy actually got on a barge that was within 12 feet of a poo bin!! I could at least understand it, a little, if there were no poo bins available. When we lived in Yorkshire we could go on 2+ hour long walks without seeing a poo bin, yet we still picked up Kasper’s poo…if the bins are there, use ‘em!
Another woman who had passed us with her Irish Wolfhound stopped to talk to the poo flinger on the barge. Me and my partner grinned at each other, thinking she was giving him a telling off. As we walked closer we heard she was actually saying what a good idea it was to simply move the poo off the path, and the man replied that “it might be necessary to scoop them in the cities, but in the countryside it’s better just to flick them off the path”. I was flabbergasted.
We used to live near a small moor in Yorkshire, and we walked the dogs there daily. It only took 20 minutes to walk from one side to the other, but it was easy to spend an hour up there taking different routes. I don’t know why, but it seemed most dog owners didn’t pick up after their dogs up there. Parts of long grass were littered with mounds of poo, so you really had to stick to the paths and watch where you stepped.
Come summer, the entire moor STANK as the poops baked in the sun. It was *revolting*, and we actually didn’t walk up there on the hotter days because of it. If everyone left their dogs’ waste along the side of the canal, imagine how bad it would smell!
We carried on with our walk, glad to be away from all of them. A few minutes passed happily; M was trundling off-lead and we were all having a good time. Then a gangly JRT appeared in the distance. As always, we put M on our longline, and we carried on.
The JRT, Sadie, came bounding forwards and enthusiastically greeted M. M is extremely polite with other dogs, but she doesn’t want to rough ‘n’ tumble with them. She is 9 years old, and happy to just say hello and carry on, especially when there are treats involved.
Sadie and M said hi, and I called M forwards and gave her a treat. We continued…but so did Sadie. She bounded around M, sniffing her face and being overly enthusiastic. We carried on walking, telling M how good she was being, but still Sadie followed. She just would not leave M alone.
M is amazingly patient and she sat then; she couldn’t move forwards because Sadie was blocking her way, so M sat. She made eye contact with me and waited, which is something else we have worked on, all the while this obnoxious dog circled and bothered her. Sadie’s owner was a good 25 feet away, and was ineffectually calling “Sadie. Sadie. Sadie, come. Come here, Sadie. Sadie.”
Minutes passed and there was nothing we could do. We began body blocking Sadie, standing in her way so she couldn’t continue pestering M. Sadie tried to move around us, and we would side step and cut her off. Still her owner was in the background going “Sadie, Sadie, Sadie, come here Sadie…”
Honestly, I wanted to yell at the stupid, inept owner to get her damn dog…but she seemed annoyed at us because we wouldn’t let her dog play with M! Eventually, after a further few minutes, Sadie realised she wasn’t getting to M again and trotted back to her owner.
I hate people who think it’s fine for their dog to pester other people’s dogs because, “it’s okay, s/he’s friendly!” I actually have an entire blog post planned on this subject, but it snuck into today’s blog because of what happened. I have no problem with dogs playing with each other, but if a dog doesn’t want to (or if the owner asks you to put your dog on lead), please move your dog along…
Sadie should not have been off lead in an area where there are many other dogs if she can’t be called away from them. She should have been walked on a longline, that way she could have greeted other dogs, played with them, but her owner could have guided her away if she blew off recall.
If we were with a dog less patient than M (which is most dogs!), or one that was fear aggressive, Sadie would most probably have earned herself a telling off and possibly an air snap. I expect Sadie’s owner would have been horrified had this happened, labelling our dog aggressive and wondering why we hadn’t “corrected” them…um, because your dog’s in the wrong?
After we’d finally lost Sadie we passed the last poo bin before we left the canal and walked through the fields, and I needed to use it…only the bin was broken because idiots had crammed plastic bottles and picnic litter into it. The lift-up lid was entirely jammed. It says ‘DOG WASTE ONLY’ on the front in huge letters, just take your litter home with you! People had left a small mound of bagged dog poops in front of the bin; we added M’s to the collection.
And then of course when we were at our furthest point of the walk, over half an hour from ‘home’, it started raining. M doesn’t like rain, but luckily we had brought her coat so she didn’t mind too much. We, however, were dressed in shorts and t-shirts, and my partner had sandals on…it was a long walk back, but at least it wasn’t too hot 🙂
As the wonderful FNAF 4 would say: tomorrow is another day…and at least I have these two idiots to come back to 😉