Lead the way when walking the dog

DOG trainer and behaviourist Deb Coleman says people are acting illegally and irresponsibly if they walk a dog they can’t control in a public place.

Ms Coleman said she wasn’t surprised to learn that a poodle was attacked at Elephant Park by a large dog on a leash earlier this month.

“All sorts of things can happen,” Ms Coleman said.

“A lot of people don’t know how to control their dogs on leads.

“Anyone who walks their dog needs to make sure they’ve got the appropriate equipment and make sure they can control their dog.”

Ms Coleman said dogs were intuitive and would sense if the person walking them  was uptight or not in control.

“Most dogs only bite out of fear,” she said.

Ms Coleman said most people assumed their dogs liked to be off the leash, however she recommends owners look at using long leashes that allow the dogs some freedom while still being under their owner’s control.

She said not all dogs liked to socialise so it was important not to put dogs in situations where they felt uncomfortable.

“While exercise is great you’ve got to look at the dog’s emotional, physical and mental health ... dogs also need downtime,” she said.

“Even if you’ve got a working breed or an active dog, mentally they need to know how to calm down.”

tracey.prisk@fairfaxmedia.com.au

STORY: RANGERS UNLEASHED ON DOG OWNERS

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