Walking your dog seems like the most benign thing in the world. It’s important exercise for your pooch, and a pleasant way for you to keep fit as well. But if you’re a dog owner, exercising your dog safely is very important.
In rural and regionals areas like ours, people often own larger dogs. Unfortunately, dogs sometimes get out of their yards. And too often, we’re seeing the results of dog fights or dog attacks. Dogs attacking each other is always a risk when you’re walking your pet.
The most important thing that I can recommend is always ensure that your dog is on a lead. Normally we see accidents occur when dogs are off leash and they get overexcited when they see another dog. That’s often when dog fights will erupt.
Always walk your dog on a lead, and always in an area that’s quite safe. It might be an area where you know there’s no large dogs, or at least none close by. It’s always good to walk with a friend as well so you’ve got that extra support there.
Dangers of off-leash parks
Off-leash parks are a great social opportunity for both dogs and their owners. But they can present a danger as well.
I think we need to be aware of the body language of dogs. If your dog’s running back to you, ears back or tail underneath, then your dog’s not comfortable being in that environment. I’d recommend walking away from that situation.
If you think your dog’s uncomfortable in an off-leash park but not absolutely sure, there’s a really good little test that you can do. We see this a lot in puppies when they come in for their puppy socialisation days. The test is essentially when you put two puppies together, if you remove one of those puppies and let them go, then they run straight back to that puppy, you know that both of them want to play.
If you remove that puppy and let it go, and it doesn’t go straight back to play with that puppy, then you know that puppy’s not comfortable in that situation and then you just remove it.
Body language is the number one indicator if your dog’s uncomfortable. You’ll notice that their tail will be tucked under, and their ears will be down. They might be licking their lips as if they’re nervous and looking sideways. You’ll see the whites of their eyes. They’re just uncomfortable with the other dog. In that situation, I would remove them before one of them picks a fight.