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Teddy’s Tales: How many dogs should a dog walker walk?

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Teddy was waiting calmly in a queue with his friend Flo, my sister-in-law’s Hungarian Vizsla. Then along came a Pug. Ever since a young Pug bit him on the nose, Ted has held a grudge. He feels the need to warn-off each and every wheezing one.

Teddy gave a growl and stuck his chest out as the innocent little Pug went past. And suddenly Flo followed that up with a volley of barks that knocked us for six. Mild-natured Flo, who rarely raises even a whimper, clearly felt the need to back-up her friend: “Your enemy is my enemy.” Impressive in the camaraderie stakes, but it made me think on, when later that morning I counted nine dogs being walked by one person on Hampstead Heath. How much control would that one walker have if those, for the moment docile, dogs kick-off when they are in a large pack?

There are plenty of outraged posts on social media about the amount of dogs being exercised by single, professional dog walkers on the Heath – not just in terms of control but, as one post put it, “Think about the poo – there’s no way that one walker can keep track and pick-up all of it.”  There are no laws regarding the number of dogs walked by one person on Hampstead Heath, but is that a good idea?

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