Q-When can walking the dog get you into trouble?
A-When you’re doing it from behind the wheel of your car!

British dog-owner 23 yr old Paul Railton was fined and his license suspended when he was stopped for driving along a country road with his dog trotting beside the car. Railton was hanging onto the dog’s leash through the car window.

Because he was driving slowly, about 5 mph, and the road was scarcely traveled, Railton apparently thought what he was doing was okay. “A lot of people exercise their dogs in that manner,” he told the court.

Railton’s dog is a lurcher, sort of like a greyhound, so as you can imagine the dog needs a lot of exercise. I guess Railton’s intentions were somewhat good, since he was attempting to give the dog exercise instead of letting it sit around in the house and get fat. But his execution was dangerous. Not only for the dog, who could have been dragged, but potentially for other motorists.

While writing my book, Losing it With My Dog, I learned that walking the dog is good not only for the dog, but for the owner too. I don’t know anything about Mr. Railton’s size or physical fitness, but I’m guessing if he was using the car to walk the dog, he might not have been that fit. I guess he didn’t realize that getting out and walking is good for him, too.

I confess, I don’t love to exercise. I’m not particularly excited about going outside and walking. But I do it for my dog. And then, when I see how much she enjoys it, I start to enjoy it more too. And that way, we both benefit. I’m in much better shape now because I get out and walk the dog.

Railston admits that “there was an element of laziness” in his conduct.