Lately it seems there aren't many places I can walk with my dogs that we don't encounter off-leash dogs. Most cities have leash laws requiring that dogs be on-leash in public places, parks, neighborhoods, etc. If your dog is not on your property, it's safe to assume they should be on a leash. This seems to be difficult for many people to understand because everywhere I go lately I'm being chased by loose dogs. I don't think people understand that dogs running into the street, charging at on-leash dogs and wandering into other peoples yard is not OK!
It's hard enough walking past the dogs who are charging their 'fence line' barking and growling, add to that the dogs who charge you in the street while their owners are no where to be found or quite frankly don't care. It's no surprise there are so many reactive/fearful dogs, all it takes is one negative experience.
When I'm walking with my dogs we want to have a relaxing walk, I don't enjoy walking the gauntlet, never knowing when we'll be ambushed. I don't enjoy turning my walk into your dogs training session as I'm forced to deal with them, catch them, bring them home, or figure out how to get away form them!
Here are a few things to consider when you choose to let your dog run loose:
- You're not following leash laws!
- Your dog has the freedom to roam on your property.......your property does not extend into the street or other peoples yards
- The on-leash dog is trapped and will often respond very defensively
- All our hard work can go right down the drain if my dog is scared or injured by your dog
- The on-leash dog can be recovering from injury or surgery, the last thing they need is to be jumped by another dog
- The on-leash dog may not be friendly towards other dogs
- Your dog can be hit by a car
- I'm stuck trying to manage chaos when all I wanted to do was walk with my dog
- You're taking away my freedom to safely walk my dog in public
I understand that occasionally dogs get loose, those aren't the dogs I'm referring to, I'm talking about the dogs who are running loose all the time. Most people don't realize that there are fines, up to $200 if your dog is running loose. The fine can be even higher if your dog is not licensed.......which many dogs aren't.
So why does this bother me so much..........ten years ago while walking my dog in my I was attacked by a loose neighbor dog. He had a long history of chasing people and biting them, yet nothing was done about it. On my walk he charged us in the street, pulled me down, dragged me, attacked my dog, it was absolutely terrifying. I spent years in Physical Therapy and had to have multiple surgeries to repair both my shoulders. My dog was never the same after that, he never again enjoyed walking on-leash.
I've witnessed horrible fights between dogs, watched owners being dragged on the ground because an off-leash dog was chasing them and I work with MANY clients whose dogs are struggling with stress and anxiety due to dog-to-dog issues from their walks.
Please think about the fall out that comes from thinking it's no big deal to let your pup run loose.