So we have just got back from a 3 mile walk around the lake. T biked and I walked Poppy, it was windy and the sun was trying to break through the clouds but it felt good to be out and getting my girls some exercise. Once we get across the road and across the little railway bridge into the country park Poppy comes off the lead for lots of reasons; because its safe, there are no more roads, she loves to walk along next to T on her bike and also loves to run between me and T wearing herself out. She will come when I call her, sometimes when she has finished sniffing but if we are too far away for her liking she will run like mad to catch up. She doesn’t have a bad bone in her 10 month old body and is mostly happy to stay away from other dogs and just follow us.
If you haven’t met my cockapoo Poppy here she is:
So as we walk mostly we have a great time, Poppy is brave with some dogs and will sniff and say hello and then run back to us,others she isn’t so brave and will burn past them to stay with T on her bike. (We know she could be braver and hopefully the socialisation classes we are starting next weekend should help with this.) Sometimes Poppy will trot along next to us and other dogs will run up to her, this mostly scares her especially if they are big bounding dogs that look like they would flatten her with one paw! In this situation what usually happens is Poppy starts running which makes other dogs think she wants to play and then the chase follows. They never run away, just usually round and round in circles until me or the other dogs owner manage to get of them distracted enough to go in a different direction!
All this is learning for Poppy, earlier we were approaching a gate and coming towards us were 3 people each with two small dogs on leads. They passed through and Poppy just walked along beside me brave as anything, through the gate and past the dogs who also didn’t bat an eyelid. Amazing.
Other tests along our walk include children, big and small, these are usually ignored as all Poppy wants is to keep up with Tiana, people on bikes, this is mostly fine as long as we see them in advance we can get her to walk alongside us or stop and wait for a treat, buggies, still not a favourite of hers we might have a bark before she runs off in the other direction, swans, ducks and other pond life, she is just really inquisitive and seems to have no fear of these, and finally growling dogs. Now I would say in the last month we have seen at least 4 dogs that have growled at Poppy, with two being today. The dogs that growled were both on leads and at the time Poppy was also on her lead as we were on the way home. The owners had made no real attempt to move out of my way and Poppy had a brave moment. So how it usually goes is the dogs come to a stand off, Poppy sniffs their nose and is met with a growl/bark/jumping/ a snap. Every single time this has happened the owners simply say “oh come on” to their dog and move along leaving me, T and Poppy stunned at what has just happened. I just don’t understand why if you know your dog doesn’t like other dogs you would let it sniff or be sniffed by my dog, why would you not forewarn me that your dog is grumpy/doesn’t like to say hi/has issues or just walk out of my way?! Not every dog is perfect,some come with history and from terribly neglected backgrounds and they all deserve a chance but should they honestly be walked in a busy public place which is full of other dogs on and off leads and families with children if they aren’t happy to be socialised? My dog is scared of bigger bouncier dogs and runs in the other direction usually and the one time she decides to be brave and say hello to something twice her size your dog growls at her for no good reason at all! This also upsets my daughter who doesn’t enjoy watching her dog get scared by your dog. Dog owners have a responsibility, if they can’t trust their dog not to growl at another dog when it simply gets sniffed on the nose it is my opinion that they should not be walked in a busy public place on a bank holiday while the rest of us are just out for a drama free walk with our friendly/well behaved if a bit shy at times/loveable/happy little dogs!