Boundary barking – why not?
The dog rushes from gate to gate and tears along the fence, barking ferociously at passers-by and their dogs, no doubt believing his barking chases them away. Such frequent and needless high arousal can’t be good for him.
But what about the psychological damage done to the passing dogs?
I contend that leaving dogs free to bark at passing dog walkers is antisocial in the extreme (as is not protecting other dogs from your antisocial dog when out on a walk).
Neighbours are able to complain about noise, but who takes up the case of people simply passing by? Admittedly, the new dog law makes an owner culpable if someone considers the dog a threat to themselves, but not if it’s their dog that considers them a threat.
How many dogs, I wonder, have been in effect psychologically ‘poisoned’ by having to pass a garden with a wildly angry dog the other side of a gate that suddenly erupts into furious barking and snarling as soon as it sees them? These passing on-lead dogs will be feeling alarmed and vulnerable.
My Pip is about the most genial and tolerant dog imaginable. Or he was. He’s getting old now and may be a bit more touchy.
Just down the road from where I live there are now a couple of dogs left running loose in a front garden for most of the day. Whenever anyone with a dog goes past these two go mental, to the extent that, in their frustration, they then attack one another.
The first time I encountered them with Pip he ignored them and we walked past. By the third time I was having to run him past and keep his attention on me. Soon he was anticipating them from down the road and, like other dog walkers, I was having to cross the road – quite dangerous as there is no footpath.
I did try a tactful word with the owner but it hasn’t worked. In a village one doesn’t want to make enemies.
One day Pip barked back so I won’t subject him to it by going past anymore. Other usually friendly dogs that we meet have also been upset by these dogs. Still aroused, they will now uncharacteristically bark at other dogs they meet. A bit like a virus, friendly dogs are becoming reactive to one another and walks are spoilt.
This is all because of a thoughtless or ignorant dog owner whose frontage it’s hard to avoid and who has no regard for the possible knock-on effect of his dogs’ behaviour.
I help a lot of people with reactive dogs. Whilst understandably wrapped up in their own problem, we need to be giving emphasis to the effect their dog’s reactivity has on other dogs and their wellbeing and how it is our social duty to protect their interests also.
Here is the story of just one of the dogs I have been to who used spend all day barking at the window.
For my main site please go to www.dogidog.co.uk