Well I’m currently in Perth and you know it surprises me that everywhere I travel to (outside of Newcastle), it seems that there are more dog owners dedicated to the health and well-being of their pets and more dogs who are simply content with their lifestyle.
Is it that dog owners in Newcastle just can’t be bothered or is there a serious lack of exercise areas available compared with other places?
What I mean is are we seeing less of this –
I’m talking about parks, beaches, bushes, walking tracks, cafe’s etc all which allow dogs.
Now I can speak for myself and say that my partner and I take our dogs out every day and in rain, hail or shine (we’ve yet to experience hail). We have no reason to feel guilty what so ever but it seems that there a quite a few of you who do!
I’ve had a look at a survey conducted by Newcastle City Council on this topic and the results angered me. It wasn’t even due to the lack of facilities but more so the lack of responsibility from dog owners.
The survey was conducted in July 2011, they surveyed 2715 residents and rate payers from the Newcastle Local Government Area (LGA) which make up just over 1% of the Newcastle LGA population. Out of this, only 974 actually completed it and from this, just over 40% owned a dog.
Please keep in mind that there are 25,000 dogs registered with the Newcastle Council which equates to 1 in every 3 households.
Here are some of the results –
19.13% or 1 in 5 say they do not exercise their dog off lead at all. What an astounding result. If you’re one of these people or know one, please I’d love to hear from you so you can tell me exactly what exercise you are doing with your dog (on leash walking ONLY doesn’t count as efficient exercise) and I’d be interested to know if your dog has any behavioural issues.
But get this, of the 80% of people who do exercise their dog off lead, 88% said they exercise their dog off lead at home on a daily basis. WHAT?!
A high proportion of respondents indicated that they never exercise their dog outside the Newcastle LGA. This means that they do not utilise dog exercise areas in the Lake Macquarie City Council or other council areas – and we wonder why we have such a large amount of misbehaving dogs and dogs with behavioural issues.
Comments from the people of Newcastle –
“All I know is that I consider we should have MUCH greater opportunity to walk our dogs off the leash and not just in isolated areas that are generally inconvenient. We want to be able to walk from our homes and let our dogs run free. Nearly everyone I see does this anyway. You are SO out of touch”.
“Time of day shouldn’t matter. People with dogs should be able to exercise them
when it suits their routine.”
“I would like to see more beach areas provided with times. For example, in the winter Merewether to Bar could be allocated for exercise. In the summer these areas could be designated 6 – 8am for off leash and after 6 – 7pm. I have travelled with my dogs and find that NCC makes it very hard to safely exercise small dogs and/or have access to the beach.”
“There should be no leash-free areas at all. There should be a dog-free Newcastle so that people don’t have to cower in fear at home.”
I fully support the first 3 comments and in regards to the last one, I do feel that it’s because of the lack of leash free facilities and inconvenient exercise areas that dogs in Newcastle are the way they are but sadly, it’s more the fault of the owner not putting in enough effort to satisfy the needs of their dog.
What happened to the days when Humans and Dogs lived along side each other without rules and boundaries and in harmony? We’ve taken these wild animals and turned them against us, making them into household pets and depriving them from the freedom and leadership they are required to live a content life. We use them for our own needs and selfishly forget about theirs. Then we put the blame on a particular breed of dog when it tries fighting back. We are using them as slaves really, taking away all of the things they know and love and pressuring them to live our lives our way and disapproving of their natural and instinctual behaviours.
An Active Dog is a Happy Dog no matter how restricted you are to exercise areas.