According to a recent report, nearly half of all existing dog owners bought another pooch during lockdown in 2020, with another 10% of British households saying they plan to get a dog during the coming six months.
Dog ownership is soaring and it’s easy to see why when you consider the changes we’ve seen in terms of lifestyle.
However, more dogs mean more people exercising and walking them, more poop and a greater need for us all to be mindful of others using the same public spaces as us.
Here are our top ways to be a responsible dog owner:
- Walks are really popular at the moment due to lockdown and well-known routes are even busier than usual. Always keep your dog on a lead when out and about to protect other people and to make sure you stick to the marked paths. Farmers’ fields look like a giant playground to your dog but it’s important to be respectful of the crops growing and mindful of any chemicals which might be on the earth.
- If you’re walking somewhere where it's suitable for dogs to be off the lead, you need to remember some people might be scared of a big ball of fur rushing up to them. You might know that all he wants is a cuddle, but they don’t, so keep your dog on a lead on training line unless you are 100% sure he will recall even when surrounded by distractions.
- I can’t get very fare through this blog post without mentioning one of the main topics on local Facebook group feeds: poo. Please, please, please pick it up. It’s so easy these days to have bags with you and use the red bins to dispose of it. It can be really dangerous for animals and children and it’s pretty offensive for anyone to have to clean their shoes up if they tread in it so bag it up and take it away with you.
- It’s often the case that early morning dog walkers might only see other people exercising dogs too. This might tempt you to let your furry friend off his lead but, remember not all dogs are happy to interact. Always approach with care and, if possible, ask the other owner whether they mind your dog greeting theirs. This saves your dog potentially getting injured or having a bad experience with another dog.
- Always be aware of your surroundings when you are out with your dog, especially if you are going to walk him off a lead. Small children and other animals can appear from nowhere and, if your dog sees them first, there could be an uncomfortable outcome. The environment changes and some fields that are usually empty may suddenly be full of sheep one day. It pays to be a step ahead and, if your surroundings change or get busy, pop your dog on a lead.
- A really useful activity for you and your dog is to spend some of your exercise time sitting and watching. Find a bench and sit next to your dog, and just watch what’s going on around you. This is excellent to help your dog learn self-control, as well as to allow you to see and understand likely reactions to things. The more you know and understand about your dog, the less likely you will find yourself in an awkward or dangerous situation.
- The bottom line in responsibility is to remember that our dogs, are dogs! They don't know what is responsible or not, it's our job as owners to ensure they don't cause a nuisance or negatively impact anyone else's day Don’t set them up for failure: think about them, consider the situation and plan for success. You’ll both enjoy being out and about far more and it’s all good training which helps towards a well-mannered dog.
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