1/ Dog shit – it’s everywhere so, as well as having to spend all the time out walking trying to avoid it, when I fail I have the horrible job of cleaning it off my shoe and sometimes my car or carpet.
2/ The barking and aggression I have to put up with on most walks. I’ve only been bitten once but I’ve had a number of scares and always feel threatened when a dog barks at me. Even when there is no chance of them attacking me I find the noise stressful.
3/ Friendly dogs that jump up at you and muddy your clothes and their owners who say “Don’t worry he’s only being friendly” and I’m too polite to do more than smile when what I want to do is shout “Get your wretched beast off me,” or something ruder.
4/ The awful smell in some of my dog-owning friends’ houses.
5/ The hair and smell left behind by visiting dogs in my home.
6/ Having to listen to “doggy talk” about how clever, funny etc. somebody’s dog is.
7/ Having to make positive comments out of politeness about someone’s dog with total insincerity – something I don’t even do if Sue asks me if something suits her when honesty prevails.
8/ Having to decide whether to tackle an owner who has just let his dog defecate in a public place – I avoid conflict as a general rule.
9/ Dogs scare off the wildlife so those of us walking without a dog are denied the views that we would otherwise have, and we might have a richer fauna in our countryside without their inquisitiveness and aggression.
10/ Dogs in pubs and cafes that hassle you when you have food, looking soulfully into your eyes, hoping you’ll be generous.
Also unbelievable are owners who go to the trouble of removing the dog shit into little plastic bags and then slinging the whole lot into a nearby hedge. Are they trying to draw attention to the good deed they’ve done?