For a long time now, I’ve learnt the difference between responsible and irresponsible dog owners. Sadly, the irresponsible ones just seem to be popping up continuously! We’ve all heard the dog attacks are increasing and how many times a year do we hear a dog has bitten or killed a child? I rarely blame the dogs. As a recent show depicts on BBC3, Don’t Blame The dog, it is more likely the owner’s irresponsible, ill informed behaviour that causes these dogs to be badly behaved. I’ve never been attacked as such, not yet, and Bailey has almost been attacked once by a rove dog but I am seeing more and more close encounters that quite frankly scare the crap out of me. Many times, walking down our main street in my town, I’ve had dogs bark and snarl at Bailey but on all occasions so far, I’ve been able to get him by without incident, either because they are tied up so well they can’t move far or their owner is being vigilant. Today just must have been irresponsible dog owner day however, because I had two incidents that made me angry. I was walking down our relatively quiet high street when I knew a dog was in front of us. Bailey wags like mad when he sees another dog and his bum was waggling away so I got hold of his lead, ready to check his behaviour if I needed to. The dog, as we approached began barking like crazy and not a happy, how are you kind of bark, but a can I eat that guide dog kind of bark. The owner, instead of making the dog sit and correcting the behaviour, pulled the dog into the doorway of the shop I was about to head into. So I carried on walking and then doubled back. She’d moved further up the street and was still, unsuccessfully reprimanding her dog. Or should I say, attempting to. On the opposite side of the street, I was coming up to an alley way when Bailey looked left and all of a sudden, something was on him, I pulled on his lead to try and free him and then felt a claw on my leg and proceeded to give out a scream. I had no idea what was going on, I knew a dog was involved but didn’t know if it was on a lead or anything. The owner, who clearly had not been paying attention to what her dog was doing, pulled it off by its lead and said sorry. I was in such shock but really wanted to blurt, get your dog under control. Why are these people allowed in public places? I mean, both dogs in this situations have clearly not been socialised with other dogs. The barking and pouncing shows that much. So why the hell were these people in a main shopping area with their out of control animals? What if that smaller dog had jumped on a child? I have a definite scratch on my leg now. I’m just glad Bailey’s OK. People should seriously start being more responsible and vigilant of their animals. And not just for Guide Dog or assistant dog users, but for the whole general public. Walk your pups in a park, not on a shopping street.