ONE of the many pleasures of owning a dog is that it provides a reason to take a little time out of a busy day to go for a walk. A walk without any specific purpose in mind other than to enjoy the fresh air and watch the seasons change.

For the most part, when we leave the house, I let Brigadier decide which way he would like to go, after all it is essentially his walk, but the one decision that I do always make is to walk with my dog on a lead.

It’s a long lead that gives him the freedom to mooch and sniff the sniffs along the way, but a lead nonetheless that gives me ultimate control and more importantly, prevents him from eating anything and everything that he finds on the field.

A field where well meaning (if not a little misguided) folk often leave bread for the ducks that live down by the beck side; a field where we sometimes come across the remains of a cat’s hunting activities, neither of which are ideal for any dog’s digestion.

It would be a bit of a waste, after all, to pay a fortune for a diet that is specially designed for dogs with food sensitivities, for it then to be supplemented with stale bread, not to mention the odd headless field mouse.

Food sensitivities aside, however, as is sometimes the case in a dog of his age, the Brigadier is now very deaf and hence our recall is virtually non-existent unless I am in his line of vision. If I can’t rely on my dog to come back to me when called, I don’t deem it safe to let him run free in a public space.

But then should anyone really have to explain why they choose to walk their dog on a lead, or why he doesn’t appreciate an ill-mannered stranger charging up to him, even if it does only want to play? Even worse, and this really is my pet hate, “It’s okay, I don’t mind if your dog nips him, it’ll do him good; teach him a lesson!”

Well actually, I do mind. You see I don’t think that it does anyone any good to get caught up in a dog fight, let alone an elderly dog with arthritis and yes, I am very aware that he will feel more vulnerable on a lead when a strange dog rushes over.

Now judging from the number of posts that I am seeing on Facebook recently, it would seem that there are a fair number of dog walkers in the same predicament as myself. Therefore, on behalf of all fellow “on-lead dog walkers” please could I make a polite request?

If you see a dog being walked on a lead, please give them space. They might be elderly, nervous, deaf, recovering from an injury or even on a restricted diet. They could be newly adopted or perhaps they are just not interested in interacting with other dogs.

In short, please don’t allow your off-lead dog to run up to an on-lead dog. Some dogs do just need space.