I will no longer walk a dog down city streets (and advise my clients likewise) because the frequency of aggressive encounters (both on and off leash) in my city (London, Ontario) has grown too great. Even when there is no contact the attitude of so many dog owners when asked to demonstrate a modicum of control over their dogs has also become increasingly adversarial.
Now, out of necessity, I’m forced to find ways that are safer for both dog and human to provide an outing for the dog(s).
It’s not that (attacks) are a daily thing but I’ve been training companion dogs full time for around 30 years and the frequency has climbed gradually until here we are. I’ll teach heel but not for the purpose of a neighbourhood jaunt any longer.
And on a related note, I know of many older people (without dogs) that have given up walking because of close encounters of the uncontrolled dog kind. And others that have been actually injured by negatively aggressive and aggressively friendly dogs.
And on a final note the worst bites I’ve seen dog owners receive have been when they’ve tried to break up a dog fight trying to save their dog (sometimes accidentally from their own dog). It’s simply not worth it anymore.
I wrote a tongue in cheek column a few years ago where I translated dog speak which is what dog owners say vs what they mean. When a dog owner says, “He’s okay.!”, what they sometimes mean is, “I hope he’s okay because I can’t control him if he’s not.”