Doggie manners

PUBLISHED: 10:59 11 February 2010 | UPDATED: 14:53 06 May 2010

SIR – I have watched with interest the ongoing correspondence in respect of dogs in the various parks of St Albans, particularly in regard to dogs jumping on children, and I would like to portray life from the other end of the lead, as it were. Until very

SIR - I have watched with interest the ongoing correspondence in respect of dogs in the various parks of St Albans, particularly in regard to dogs jumping on children, and I would like to portray life from the other end of the lead, as it were.

Until very recently, I had two dogs, one of whom passed away before Christmas. This dog, Sadie, was an akita and was kept on a lead always. She was a Pets As Therapy dog and very sweet tempered with children.

However, akitas are very big dogs and it never failed to amaze me how many adults would allow their children to race up to her and put their arms around her neck without asking me if this was acceptable.

No doubt had Sadie reacted badly to this invasion of her space it would have been her who paid the ultimate price.

My other dog, a British bulldog, is perfectly content to walk at heel off lead. He's not a particularly sociable chap and would prefer to walk without being interrupted. He also prefers, if someone is determined to say hello, that they extend their hand for sniffing first before stroking him. It is only good manners.

I would not cuddle someone before being introduced to them and Bertie feels the same way. I was always taught as a child to ask before approaching a dog and I was also told to extend my hand for sniffing.

As a dog owner, I am more than happy for anyone to say hello to my dogs, and am indeed very used to it, what with owning relatively unusual dogs. However, it is always appreciated when the common courtesies are observed.

For the record, I always clear up my dog mess, as do all of the dog owners I know.

It would be appreciated if responsible dog owners were not tarred with the same brush as irresponsible owners, whose actions are as despised by us as they are by non-dog owning people.

LIZ NEEDHAM

Alma Road, St Albans


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