Dog walkers at Ridley Park, Blyth

Council asks dog walkers to ‘respect the lead’

Northumberland County Council is backing a national campaign to avoid tension between dog walkers by promoting good lead etiquette.

The authority is promoting the ‘Respect the lead’ campaign which aims to educate people about the issues which can arise when walking dogs on leads and focuses on ensuring a safe and happy environment for all dogs and walkers.

Northumberland County Councillor, Glen Sanderson, cabinet member with responsibility for Environment and Local Services said:

“ Many dog walkers do not understand the importance of controlling their dog while around others.  This campaign aims to provide owners with the knowledge they need.

“ Taking your dog for a walk should be an enjoyable experience for both owner and dog, and by remembering to ‘respect the lead’ we can ensure a safe and happy environment for everyone.”

Animal Welfare Officer, Gemma Fowle added:

“ Not every dog wants to play. Lots of dogs are timid and they may have confidence issues. 

“ When a dog is on a lead, being approached by a confident or excited dog can make it feel vulnerable and trapped and cause it to lash out. This can be dangerous for both dogs and owners and can result in injury.  As responsible dog owners we must always respect an unknown dog’s state of mind.”

The campaign is helping to spread the word about how dogs interact with others and raises awareness about the variety of reasons why dogs are often kept on a lead.  They could be reactive to other dogs or people, they may be young and undergoing training, or may be elderly or frail.

“ Your dog may be happy to interact with others but remember that this is not the case for everyone. If you see another dog on a lead, then respect that they may need some space. ”

Don’t allow your dog to approach another dog on the lead, without first asking permission from its owner. Remember to use the ‘3 second rule’, allow your dog to introduce themselves and take a sniff, but then pull them away after 3 seconds, maintaining a very brief meeting.  If you are walking your dog in a popular dog walking area, keep it on a lead unless you have a good recall.

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