This is my first blog post and hopefully the first of many. These are just my thoughts and experiences and by sharing them with you I hope that you might see something that you can relate to. You won’t always agree with my thoughts and that’s perfectly ok with me. We can always agree to disagree. That is the beauty of free speech.

So today I thought I would start with something we all do as dog owners and that is, take our dog for a simple walk.

For years I walked my gorgeous Kelpie Max “off lead”. I knew the council would fine me if they caught me but I selfishly believed that there was no reason to have him on a lead because he was friendly, had good recall if I needed him to come to me, he was older and knew better and because he liked to smell and wee on every tree we passed, walking him off lead meant I would get a good walk without having to wait for him. Max passed away 4 years ago and I now have two very different dogs and two very different walking dogs!

These days I walk Evie and Lenny on lead. Evie is 4 years old. She weighs around 40kg and after being attacked at 7 months of age, became defensive. Lenny is 3 years old and weighs 35kg. Absolutely nothing has ever happened to him but he is very boisterous and has picked up on Evie’s defensive behaviour. So walking two large dogs heavy dogs, both with limitations has its difficulties.

Knowing how they behave around other dogs, my first priority is to keep everyone safe. I absolutely do not want my dogs to have a bad experience with another dog so I choose to walk them on the road very early in the morning and there is less chance I will run into another dog. If I see another dog coming towards me, I move my dogs to the other side of road and I am usually called out to by the other dog owner advising me that their dog is friendly. People automatically assume I am moving my dogs away because of their dog and this is not the case.

Safety is a priority not only for my dogs, but also for another dog(s) who is also enjoying a morning walk. Now I’m not saying something will happen but if I remove them from a situation where something “might” happen then that is being a responsible dog owner.

I currently have a 12-week-old foster puppy in my care so I am actually walking 3 dogs. Lenny and Evie take their fostering and nurturing rolls very seriously and so I am now walking two large protective dogs with a bouncy boisterous puppy.

Should I walk them separately? It’s my choice to walk them together and everything I am doing, I am doing responsibly. I have each dog on a lead. Every lead is labeled. One says “No Dogs”, one says “Friendly” and one says, “Adopt Me”. I am doing everything I possibly can to keep not only my dogs, but also everyone else’s dogs safe.

But not everyone is like me and it would be hypocritical of me to get angry when I see a dog walking with an owner off leash. However, I know better these days and I don’t yell out to the off lead dog owner to “put your dog on a lead”. That’s their choice and if a council ranger catches them they will be dutifully fined. But what happens if the off lead dog runs towards my three dogs?

It’s a recipe for disaster and if you love your dog(s) as much as I do, you should consider that not every dog you come across on your walk is friendly or wants to be approached by your friendly dog. Does this mean I shouldn’t take my dogs for a walk every day? Absolutely not. If everyone is considerate of other dog owners and their dogs, you will have more control of a potentially volatile situation if your dog is on a lead. We can all wave each other good morning and we can all enjoy our dogs in a safe, considerate and controlled manner