Should I let the dog off the lead?
I'm getting a puppy soon, and when it's older I hope to take it walking.
I've read various threads on here over the years re: coos and dogs, and I'd more-or-less formed the impression that the safest thing to do when entering a field of coos is to let the dog off the lead, so that angry coos will chase the dog rather than me. (I'm already very cautious about coos, and particularly bullocks.)
Now that I'm going to be actually doing it, though, I thought I'd better check with those who've done it before. Is it best to let the dog off the lead or not?
Just to be clear--the puppy will be going to training classes as soon as it's old enough, so it isn't going to be a menace, and it'll come/stay/etc when called (I hope!). I'm not planning to let it run riot through farm animals: I just want to know the safest way to navigate fields of coos, for all concerned.
Let it off the lead every single time... for your own sake!
The cows will chase the dog... but they'll never catch the dog... leaving you free to exit the field however you wish. The dog will probably find you a few minutes later, or failing that, you can start putting posters on lamp-posts and telegraph poles.
On the other hand, if you keep the dog on a lead and the cows go for the pair of you, then it's likely we'll be reading about your demise on the news.
Sorry to be so blunt... but the ONLY sensible thing to do is let the dog run for it!
Thanks, Paddy. That's what I thought.
Dangerous things, these coos...
Hiya Shirl, great to see you back
The important thing is not whether the dog is on a lead or not, it's whether the dog is under control. The first few times your dog comes into contact with cows, sheep etc it's going to be more than a little interested in them.....probably best to let your dog become familiar with them being around while on a lead initially and once it's stopped pulling when it sees them start letting it off but close to you.
The thing is that I've read that a lot of cows hate dogs (I wonder why that might be...) and will make a bee-line for them, whether the dog's behaving well or not. The idea of a field full of cows bearing down on me at a great rate of knots is profoundly unattractive *g*
Paddy Dillon wrote (see)
The dog will probably find you a few minutes later, or failing that, you can start putting posters on lamp-posts and telegraph poles.
My experience confirms Hughs view of a natural antipathy. Walking up a quiet, hedge lined path with the dog off his lead we suddenly heard him barking up ahead. Round the bend in the path we saw that the hedge had been replaced by two strands of barbed wire enclosing a field with about twenty bullocks. Our dog was running towards the bullocks and they, all of them, towards him.
When they met there was a swirling mass of bullocks trying to headbutt, stomp or kneel on the dog, who retaliated by fastening his teeth on a muzzle and holding on while the bullock tried to dislodge him by tossing its head in the air. I was outside the melee hoping to grab him if he reached the edge or emerged. Three times he came out, only to dash back in again before I could reach him. I finally grabbed him the fourth time and legged it back over the wire. He was quiet and appeared stiff for the next couple of days, but was otherwise unharmed.
The good news for Peewiglet is that terriers probably don't have the same instincts as my bulldog.
i have a staffordshire bull terrier that attacked a herd of cows.he was constantly trying to jump up and clamp on to the neck. in the summer when the cows are in the fields where i walk him,we are chased out of the field at least once a week.i have to keep dog on the lead otherwise he will chase them.he has also chased 2 horses once.i keep him on the lead if anything with 4 legs is about for their own safety!
Without wanting to sound geeky, a check on the law might be of use here...(as I used to work for the NFU) and then some animal behaviour knowledge (as I used to be a farmer)....
The law is quite clear. If a dog is "at large" in a field with lifestock (bovine or sheep) i.e. not on a lead, the farmer has a legal right to shoot the dog. The dog does not need to be attacking the livestock, it just needs to be "at large"......so, if walking through a field with livestock in it keep your dog on a lead.....especially if it has a habit of having a go.....
NOTE: The definition is not one of control.....it is a simple was it on a lead or not...and if not, it can be shot.
Now the animal behaviour bit!
Bovines (cows) can show two sets of behaviour - both can be dangerous but for different reasons. They can be curious (whats that dog doing in our field?) and may approach or can be aggressive (that dog is threatening my calf......KILL...).
If you are in a field with cows and calves, do not get between the cows and the calves and, if you havent already done it, be prepared to slip the leash off the dog. If the cows do attack - you will know if they do - they will always go for the dog. Leave cows and dog to it. Let the dog take its chances and exit the field. Cows in this position will only stop attacking when they are sure there is no further threat to their calf. This makes them more dangerous than a bull! Getting a dog between cows and calves will provoke an attack. If you get in the way, you will get hurt or be killed. Your dog...if it has any sense at all, will exit the field by the nearest hole in the hedge!
The danger from the curious bovine (as Paddy put it) is because they are mighty curious and a touch clumsy.....so be prepared to slip your dog off its leash to distract them. Another option (if you have no dog) is to stand rock still....wait to be sniffed, maybe licked () and then walk quietly on. Think equal reactions -if you are quiet and calm, then they will be. Jump around and scream......
Sheep. Sheep are trouble, especially coming up to lambing time. All a dog has to do is run around a field to provoke panic and a stampede in a flock. Apart from the physical injuries to the sheep, pregnant ewes can spontaniously abort their lambs up to 48 hours after a stampede. When in a field with sheep......keep your dog on its lead. No exceptions.
ok, just my experience then... but my family have had cocker spaniels for the last four generations, and they may behave differently. we've never had a problem with cows - they amble over to have a sniff, and the cockers sniff back, and we all wander off our separate ways.
not anthropomophism hugh, just a few generations' experience based on one breed of dog alone.
Simon Barry wrote (see)
Of course! As I said, my concern is only about cows.
I agree with Simon about dogs worrying livestock.. My bulldog's encounter with the bullocks was my fault and never repeated because I made a point of putting his and his successors' leads on whenenever they might meet any, but I then made sure we didn't get into any fields with cattle. I had to put them on leads for horses too.
I think that this thread has shown that the bullbreeds (mine and Ray's) act one way, spaniels another and other unspecified breeds run away. Peewiglet will need to establish how her terrier reacts before she can choose the best strategy.
Frum wrote (see)
I hope mine will be one of the 'smile first, and if necessary run away' breeds!
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