Dog Walking In Scotland
Having my friend Kylie from Scotland visiting this week has been eye opening for both of us. And I’m not just talking about the accents, interesting words for things like grilled cheese (toasties), potatoes (tat-tees), or my personal favorite - crisps for chips and chips for fries.
A little context to Kylie's visit: we met 5 years ago at Cesar's dog psychology center (instant best friends) and we have stayed in touch ever since. Kylie is a mental health professional in Scotland specializing in working with youths. She also works with owners and their dogs, which is basically another mental health job. :)
We are all here to talk about dogs, soooo the big elephant in the room: are the dogs and owners in Scotland different than the dogs and owners in America?
Do owners prance around in a problem-free, European bliss?
Does she witness much dog aggression?
Can you take dogs into stores? Pubs?
Are there dog parks in Scotland?
My brain has been spinning.
The most fascinating thing I learned during this last 3 weeks…
THERE ARE NO LEASH LAWS OR TRESPASSING LAWS IN SCOTLAND.
There is NO requirement to keep your dogs on lead, and you can literally walk for miles and miles through pastures and farmer's properties without consequence.
The caveat is that the penalties for dogs who are "out of control" is very steep. Especially if they kill or disturb livestock. Farmers are legally allowed to use deadly force to keep the peace.
Cited owners can get penalties ranging from a VERY stiff fine, jail time, and all roads in-between such as mandatory on-lead or a lifetime of their dog being muzzled in public. It's eye opening.
So what would you do if you had to move to Scotland and there were no leash requirements?
I wondered how valuable dog training would be for society if freedom was the norm? Socialization with… not separation from.
I imagined dogs that could lie down when they actually want to, and not fall victim to a cover up for their owner's current emotional state.
How would I personally feel? I would be crazy stoked! I can imagine my dog Kita running through the deep green fields of tall grass intermingling with all the unfamiliar smells trying to make sense of it all.
I can imagine the reduction in stress being able to problem solve for themselves, always under my discriminating eye.
I'm planning on visiting Kylie in Scotland in 2018. I can't wait to bring you more perspective on the results from so much doggie freedom. I'm excited to feel it for myself in person.
You can see my full interview with Kylie here. We went deeper into human emotions and the transference to our dogs.
My Doggie Bag of Goodies For Ya
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Head rubs and belly scratches.