Why walking dogs ONLY on lead with prams can be a bad ideaDon't get me wrong. I am a father of a toddler and understand a woman's time commitments through the day when they have a young family.
But this blog is about what happens to dogs that are walked exclusively on lead with prams in or out of dog parks. And the regular pitfalls.
Dog on lead in the streets with prams
People think that just because the dog is getting out with them they are getting what they need. walking dogs on lead when they are young is vital to bonding with them, it assists your alpha status and can improve recall. It can help the dog desensitise to traffic etc. BUT it will never give any dog except the very sick and very old enough exercise.
The main issue is that many dogs can get 'protective' while being on lead and become more anti social and aggressive and the dogs can pull the owner and pram over or get hurt under the pram wheels. The dog isn't getting to walk with a pack and socialise and it isn't getting to make its own choices so thus becoming independent and social. You are multi tasking, but this is a bare maintenance program that will often develop bad behaviour habits in a dog that are much harder and costlier to change than letting them off lead in the first place.
Dog on lead in the dog parks with pramsThis is basically just teasing a dog. It also means that you can't put your attention fully on the dog or the pram, and the dog is likely to want to pull thus removing your alpha status.
If a less social dog comes up to your pram, who will you protect? Your baby or your dog?
Will your dog be aggressive and guard the pram and you even more in a dog park. I have seen this happen many times with owners becoming into conflict along with the dogs.
Dog OFF lead in the dog parks with pramsThis is getting towards a good solution, but the same issue occurs as for dogs on lead in dog parks. You will not have anywhere near full control of your dog and you won't be able to protect it if it gets into a fight.
Dogs on lead and dogs off lead in dog parks often try and protect the owner and baby as they think that is their job. This is what often causes fights between dogs and dogs in dog parks.
NOTE it doesn't always have to be this way. I have made quite a few friends with owners who are not anxious over their dogs and their babies in dog parks (though having a baby in a pram in a dog park is probably not a good idea for most people). Who would you choose to protect?
Some owners can walk their pram and already have a very social dog they used to take to the park before they had the baby. In that case, you do risk having to separate your attention between dog and baby, but in some dog parks this is fine. I know its about priorities and multi tasking, but if there a major issue with your dog occurs, you dont want to have to make decisions.
If you are at all anxious about your baby in the pram or what may happen to your dog, or what your dog may do to another dog or person while you are holding the pram, please consider a way of finding time to walk your dog off lead in a dog park, without a baby or toddler. Even if this means getting a friend or a professional to do your walking while you are unable to give full attention. THIS statement is all about what is best for the dog (that is my job).