The Christmas and cafe walked dog in MelbournePlease excuse if this blog comes off a little preachy. Many dog walkers don't take dogs for that much of a walk, or off lead for any substantial time, so even if you get your 'average' dog walker, your dog not be getting anywhere near the full experience they deserve.
With time poor high pressure job owners, it is coming more common place for the only time their dogs get to be out of the house or yard, is for a Saturday or Sunday walk to the local cafe.
And this experience can be stressful for dog and owner alike because the dog has been so pent up with wanting go join the pack, they have forgotten their manners, they have forgotten how to be social.
For small dogs, this is often excused as 'small dog syndrome' but I assure you that the small dogs I walk don't have such a high level of anxiety as those dogs almost never walked.
And Ironically its because the owners haven't walked their dogs a lot, or haven't got them professional dog walkers who get their dog to the point that it can be off lead at dog parks, is the very reason that the 'downtime' that they get to have with their dogs at local cafes can be one of the most stressful days in both the dog and owners lives.
And if your dog is a medium to large sized dog that is 'over exuberant' then there is a fair chance that they don't get taken anywhere that there are people.
This then further isolates them from being social and condemns them to the back yard forever.
Like humans, dogs need to be around their own kind to be healthy.
The reason that we walk them off lead is that they get more exercise and they learn to make their own sensible social choices of how they approach and sniff and other dog or try and engage in play.
Many dogs in middle age or older choose not to engage in a lot of play, because not only are they physically older, they are also experienced. And an experienced dog knows that play is really code for who is better at being higher in the pack. If you play and lose, your status is demoted. Some dogs don't mind this, but many absolutely hate the implications, so they end up fighting rather than playing - particularly if they are not social.
Anyone who tells you their dog doesn't like being off lead, just hasn't gotten their dog to a point where the dog is comfortable, They will also most likely experience a dog with higher anxiety or aggression than other dogs of its similar breed and age and are more likely to get health issues - just like humans who suffer from clinical depression.
Anyone who tells you dogs don't need to be off lead in dog parks, or dont like being off lead, dont understand dogs or dog behaviour/ dog psychology. They often haven't been to a good off lead dog park to see how much joy and satisfaction the off lead dogs get. Even the old ones, just going about their business not engaging a great deal are getting an incredible amount out of the sensory experience just by being there. Just because humans cant easily tell what is going on inside a dogs head, doesn't mean that its not happening.
So why " Christmas and cafe walked dog in Melbourne" ? Because just like the vast majority of dogs in Melbourne and the world are fed an inappropriate grain diet, so are the majority of dogs not walked off lead.
I get that there are other commitments, budget constraints many numerous competing things. But I make a stand for all dogs to have the right to be social, the opportunity to be social for themselves and the community.
If you want to do two things that will make up 97% of what a dog needs in life, its feeding them more meat in their diet and walking them every day off lead ! Perhaps that is a great NY commitment for 2017 ?