Just lately, while driving around, I have seen quite a few young children walking their dogs, alone.
Do I think it is dangerous, yes I do but not for the reasons, some of you may think.
I am all for independence (kids being kids) getting out and about and having fun but when it comes to walking their dogs on their own, with no adult supervision, not so much.
For a good many parents, I don’t think they realise the potential dangers their son/daughter could be exposed to, while out walking their dog.
Some parents would say, “What’s the Big Deal” the “Big Deal” is one of safety, safety of their son/daughter and their dog.
Young children don’t have the strength or presence of mind to act quickly enough, if something bad were to happen.
In fact anyone who takes their dog out has to be aware of their surroundings and what is going on, around them. Have you taught your child to be aware of their surroundings and what is going on around them, if they are out walking your dog, alone?
Young children are not really capable of doing that, due to their age and immaturity.
Whether the dog is big or small, it is still a dog, dogs can run and pull on the leash, if they see something, that peaks their interest.
Even, adults can often find their dogs hard to manage, if it were, to do the same.
Imagine your child casually walking your dog, your dog, starts pull, on the leash, and is intent on running across, that busy road.
Does your child know, how to stop it or to drop the leash and let your dog go? Your dog may or may not make it, across the road. Traffic just can’t stop or swerve, as it may cause an accident. Now imagine if your child, didn’t know how to stop it or didn’t let go of the leash!
Walking in the park, sounds like fun but “What If” your son/daughter were to meet a stray or off leash dog, do they know what to do? Do they know what to do, if a dog fight were to ensue?
Many adults, in the same situation can find it hard, distressing and traumatizing, both for themselves and their dog. Which may or may not have, lasting effects. Do you want your child or your dog or both, distressed or traumatized?
Also, think about other dog owners walking their dogs, is it fair to expect them to deal with your child and your dog, if it becomes excited or out of control, when its sees another dog. Your child will more than likely, let go of the leash and anything can happen.
Is it fair to let your son/daughter, deal with your excited or out of control dog?
You may think that won’t ever happen to my child, my dog doesn’t do that with me, maybe not, but you are an adult.
Lastly, you may think I am going a bit overboard but I can tell you, these situations I have just mentioned, happen daily, to both children and adults.
Oh and before I forget, another thing your child needs to learn is, how to pick up the Poo:-) There are many more scenarios that spring to mind but I wanted to keep this blog post as short as possible.
A good way of letting your young child walk your dog, is to attach two leads to your dog’s collar, you give your child one lead and you have hold of the other, so you are primarily in control.
For more information please read this very good article: Should children walk dogs?