For dog owners, off-leash walking seems like a convenient way of getting your dog exercise. Off-leash walking removes the owner’s feeling of being pulling around by their dog. However, it’s a real problem for all the people and dogs around you. There’s always a chance all your dog’s training will flutter away when spooked by something unexpected. Honestly, the dog being walked off-leash isn’t, even, the biggest problem with off-leash walking: it’s the other dogs.
Unfortunately, some dogs are extremely anxious and attentive when walking around in public places. A dog off-leash can heighten their tension and makes them more likely to snap or pull on their leash. It causes the owners of these dogs to become very nervous, effectively, ruining their dog walking experience. Basically, there’s no reason another dog’s walk needs to be ruined just because you can’t find the motivation to carry a dog leash. It doesn’t matter how much off-leash training your dog has; it’s still going to seem like a threat to the poor anxious dog on the other side of the street. And that anxiousness might cause your trained dog to run straight at the other dog no matter the command your shouting. In the end, why scare a dog that's already having trouble adjusting to the idea of a leash? Off-leash walking just seems like an unnecessary luxury for the owner. I know we all want to let our dogs run free, but, they’re certain places where they can do that: the backyard, a dog park, an enclosed field. Outside of these places, off-leash walking can be a real nuisance to all the people and the dogs around you.
Especially, for dogs who get overly excited during their walks.
Overly Excited Dogs
Many off-leashing owners love to take their dogs on the trails to give there a dog weekend treat of exercise. However, off-leash owners aren’t the only ones who think like this and there lies the problem. Dogs tend to be overly excited on trail walks because of all the nature around them. Your off-leash dog might be calm and listen to your commands, but the ones on dog leashes will not. Honestly, it becomes a nightmare experience for the people with the leashes. An off-leash dog will come around one of the trail’s turns and for the rest of the walk, it becomes almost impossible to refocus their overly excited dog on anything else. They’ll resort to pulling and dragging their owner to meet the off-leash dog. Now, what was supposed to be a fun afternoon becomes a source of stress for both the owner and their dog. After all, dogs tend to get more excited by the presence of a dog off-leash than they do with one on a leash.
This over-excitement can lead to another dog endangering your off-leash dog’s safety.
Your Dog’s Safety
Again, you’re never going to know how another dog’s going to react to your off-leash dog. It might see your dog as a threat and charge forward. They might make a maneuver towards you that makes your dog resist commands because of their protective instincts. Your dog could meet a stray that’s prone to be aggressive towards other dogs because of the environment around them. This could lead to a disaster and a visit to the vet. At least with a dog leash, you could mitigate the situation by pulling back and trying to turn the other way. In the end, there’s just a lot of ways off-leash walking could be a safety issue for your dog’s health.
Realistically, off-leash walking’s not only a threat to your dog’s safety but to yours as well.
As dog owners, we all want to make sure our dogs are safe and happy. Therefore, if your off-leash dog meets an aggressive off-leash dog, you’re going to jump in and try to dissolve the situation. Effectively, you’ve become invested in a dangerous situation that could have been avoided, simply, with a dog leash. Let’s be honest, some of these people with off-leash dogs haven’t train them as well as you. They’re probably going to be a few owners who take them off-leash in public places before they're ready. You have to account for other dog owners when choosing to take your dog on a walk. It’s important to be super-cautious of other people’s errors or actions. After all, you don’t want to be the person running through traffic trying to catch your dog that was startled by a backfiring car. An experience I witnessed during a dog event last summer. The dog got spooked and started sprinting down a city avenue; thankfully, he/she was recovered without injury.
There’s a group of people who can be an additional stressor for both off-leash dogs and leashed dogs and I call them:
An off-leash person is someone who assumes it’s all right to come up and pet your dog. They’ll see your adorable little pup and barrel themselves straight towards them without realizing some dogs aren’t super pleased about strangers coming up to pet them; they might snap or bite this off-leash person. In contrast, a dog leash always allows your dog to be in your radius and under control. Therefore, you can pull back on the leash before you pup acts aggressive towards an off-leash person. You could even put yourself between the incoming person and your dog to reduce the tension of the situation. Off-leash walking doesn’t have this luxury because it might be too late before you realize an off-leash person is coming towards your dog; the dog might be behind or simply too far away from you to stop the situation. Don’t let an overly friendly person’s dumb action ruin the time you're having with your dog.
Go Buy a Leash
And remove yourself from being the cause of other dog’s anxieties and stressors. Let them run free in the backyard or a local dog park rather having them off-leash all the time. Honestly, a dog leash doesn’t even weigh that much! So, please make sure to buy a dog leash, maybe even a Leatherberg one, and leash them up on their walks.