I meet some friends most mornings at the park and we – and our dogs! – all get on well together. One of the owners has a rescue dog that she doesn’t normally bring with her to these get-togethers, but when he does come, it upsets the whole balance of the group. I would prefer not to put my dog in the way of this rescue dog because he has already shown some aggression to a few of the other dogs there, and I’m not sure what to do. Some advice would be appreciated!

Sue Gilmore advises…

First of all, you have a responsibility to your dog, and for him, so make some decisions before he finds himself in a spot of bother, rather than afterwards. You may decide to keep your dog on a lead, or even take him elsewhere when this other dog appears, but let’s assume that you want to continue meeting up with this group and keep relations harmonious between all the dogs – and your friends, of course.

Have a chat with your other friends, and if you all feel that this rescue dog is causing the group to become unbalanced, ask the owner to put her dog on a lead, and calmly explain why. If she is a responsible dog owner, she should have no problem with this. As an alternative, suggest that everyone keeps their dogs on the lead until the newcomer settles into the group and you are all confident that everyone will be safe if the dogs are given their freedom.

Please be aware that, legally, all dog owners have to keep their dogs under proper control in a public place, such as a park.

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