CM's Daily Poll: Age of Dog Walkers

Discussion in 'Off-Topic & Chit Chat' started by CollieMan, Nov 1, 2007.

  1. CollieMan Experienced Member

    Here in England, anyone, of any age, can walk a dog, regardless of its size or its strength.

    Some say that it's right for a young child to learn to walk a dog from a young age. When Mum and Dad are out, isn't it more important that the dog gets to go out, than who walks it?

    It might even foster a sense of responsibility in the child.

    Others say that it's an accident waiting to happen. What if the dog slips the leash and runs off? What if it gets into a fight? What if it bites someone? Who can you hold responsible, being as in most countries you're not legally liable under 16 years of age?

    Does the child have the mental maturity and the physical strength to control a situation if it goes bad? Got a view?

  2. CollieMan Experienced Member

    As you might guess, I'm against young dog-walkers. I'm sure there are exceptions and that a few youngsters are very good with dogs, etc. etc.

    However, I look at it from the perspective of 'if things go wrong'. A child doesn't have the mental maturity, or the physical strength in some cases, to make the best decisions and take the best remedial actions.

    I have actually seen a child get pulled over into the mud when it was walking a dog. We were walking ours the other week. As we were returning home, we could hear these two terrier dogs barking like crazy, in the distance. As we approached, it became clear they were not under control, even though they were on a leash. The parents were there, holding one of them, and a younger boy holding the other. The dog being held by the boy lunged towards Ellie, still barking, and pulled the boy over. So, it does happen.
  3. Jean Cote Administrator

    I think it is okay for a child to walk his dog - but the dog should be trained first and the child should be taught how to walk the dog.

    But obviously I wouldn't want a child walking a 100 pound dog. :)
  4. bipa New Member

    I voted only if accompanied by an adult, although that's not quite exactly what I mean. I've let a 7 year old walk Bonnie (with me), but won't let that same child walk Little Joe at all because he's bigger, stronger, and reactive. I'd have no trouble letting a 14 year old walk Bonnie alone, or even a 12 year old. But I'm uneasy even letting an adult walk Joey if they haven't much dog handling experience.

    Darn it... guess my answer is "depends" again. Perhaps I should have clicked on "I'm feeble"? :dogtongue2:
  5. l_l_a New Member

    Totally agree about how some dogs are strictly for grown-ups only to walk, and only experienced grown-ups for that matter!

    when I was a kid it was my responsibility to walk the family dogs because I was the one who begged my parents for pets. I remember walking the dogs, alone, when I was as young as 9 or 10 everyday. They were small to medium sized so they were within my ability to physically keep them under control.

    However I am now of the opinion that this is unwise. I was lucky that there were no emergencies that happened on my watch. What if a loose aggressive dog were to appear and start harassing the kid and dog? I think an adult should always be accompanying the child when dog-walking. And that the adult should be the one keeping an eye on the dog and not assuming the kid is capable of that responsibility.

    Recently the outdoor swimming pool at our gym was closing for the end of the summer season. The last day was open just for dogs! It was such a blast, all the doggies splashing around in clean sparkling pool water (not giardia-infested pond, creek or lake water which are the usual options available to dogs around here...) Humans were not allowed in the water. I was standing at the edge of the pool supervising my dog when I saw a little 4-5 month old labrador puppy swimming in the deep end. The little thing was getting tired didn't know how to make it back to the shallow end, and was trying to climb out of the pool but was too small and tired to lift itself out of the water. I saw the little puppy sinking lower and lower in the water, about to go under. I rushed over, reached in and pulled the pup out of the pool. It just lay in my arms, too exhausted to move much. Where was the owner??? Then, a little girl not more than 7 years old, came over and thanked me for getting her puppy. I asked her where her parents were, she pointed to some people lounging around in the pool chairs some distance away.

    The girl can't be faulted for not knowing how to keep her puppy safe since she was only 7 years old. Because of that, watching the animal should be her parents' responsibility, not hers. Her puppy almost drowned! On hindsight I should have had a word with her parents, but as I had to supervise my own dog I didn't do that, I just told the girl that her puppy was too tired to swim more and she should take him home.
  6. Jean Cote Administrator

    Thanks ||a for sharing that story! It opened my eyes as to what could really happen if a child were to walk a dog. I've just realized how dangerous it could be for both the child and the dog.

    I will also write an article in the Library on how to properly hold a leash, I have seen kids (or adults) completely wrap their hand two or three times with their leash, which would leave them following behind if their dog were to suddenly chase or run away.

    Thanks again!
  7. drivingtenacity New Member

    I don't think children should walk larger dogs at all, and should only be allowed to walk smaller dogs in the company of an adult. There are just too many possibilities for something terrible to happen, as collieman and lla have stated.
    I'll go one step further and say I don't think small-framed adults should walk large dogs. If the dog outweighs the walker, it's a problem waiting to happen.
  8. l_l_a New Member

    Jean that would be great if you could write an article on that! thanks in advance!

    Drivingtenacity I totally agree with you. My 92-pound german shepherd walks nicely on a loose leash even when there are distractions around (and I weigh about 110 lbs but am pretty fit and athletic). But I would never dream of asking my frail 83-year-old grandmother to walk him, because you just never know....something could suddenly scare the dog and make him bolt. Or prey drive could kick in when you least expect it, and even if the dog can be brought back under voice control within a second by then the walker may already be injured. I wouldn't have a problem asking my grandmother to walk him off leash though...! in safe places of course. He loves her to pieces and will do anything for her!
  9. Jean Cote Administrator

    I've read in the news a while back of a women walking her 5 dogs and they all took off at once and attacked this one guy, I guess there wasn't anything she could really do in that situation.
  10. l_l_a New Member

    :dogohmy: :dogohmy:

    I wonder if there was something about the guy if all 5 dogs set on him! Like maybe he was obviously threatening them or their owner?? Or did pack mentality just take over?
  11. Jean Cote Administrator

    That I don't know, but if one decides to chase something, most likely the others will follow. It's just instinct.

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