Your dog LOVES to go on walks, so it makes sense that you try to take him on as many as possible-right?
Walks are meant to be fun. They are a great time for you and your dog to strengthen your bond, build confidence, and it’s a great way for both of you to get your much needed exercise. Walks are also a fantastic way to provide the all important mental stimulation for your best friend as well.
When you clip that leash onto your dog, you’re essentially promising your dog, and yourself, that this is going to be a safe walk. With that leash, you eliminate the threat that your dog can run off and disappear or get hit by a car. You eliminate the threat that your dog can run down small children and or greet strange dogs. You gain some control over an otherwise unpredictable world with that leash.
This Halloween, I had an unfortunate run in with a dog that was not on leash. My dad and I were walking our three dogs (all on leashes) when a neighborhood pup tore out of his own yard and lunged for our one dog, Ivy.
My dad managed to pull the little guy off of Ivy, but as a result the dog latched on to him instead, leaving him with a nasty bite. Thankfully, the dog was up to date on all shots and my dad avoided getting a rabies vaccine because he had already received them years ago.
Unfortunately, we still had to contact the police in regards to the dog bite. My parents did not press charges, but the dog still had to go to isolation for a few days.
It was a horrific experience for both my family and I’m sure the family of the off-leash dog.
But it could have been so much worse.
You see that day I had also been walking my reactive dog, Bean. While she is great with her own family and her own pack, she can be very weary of new people and usually does not get along with other dogs.
That day, I managed to pick up Bean, all fifty pounds of thrashing, squirming muscle and carry her away from the dog. She’s very protective of Ivy and her family and seeing that dog bite her must have enraged her. I had to pin her to the ground to make sure she didn’t go after the other dog until the owner picked him up and carried him away.
I can only imagine what it would have been like if the dog had targeted Bean instead.
Or if the dog had managed to get out the yard during Trick-Or-Treating.
When you leash your dog you protect not only yourself and your dog, but all the other dogs and people who live in your neighborhood or city block.
Trust me, I know how tempting it can be to want to let your dog roam freely. My dogs love to run around the yard, but we don’t have a fence and so the leash goes where they go.
You may think to yourself “but my dog would NEVER bite anyone.”
And that may be true.
But that doesn’t mean that other dogs wouldn’t.
Imagine that you are walking your friendly pup and out of nowhere an off leash dog runs up to you, bites your dog, and maybe bites you. Your dog doesn’t fight back, but she stills bears the scars.
Imagine that you are walking your reactive dog and a friendly pup runs up to you. Now your dog is the one doing the biting and you are the one held responsible. You are the one who might lose your dog forever.
By refusing to have your dog off leash you make a promise to create a safe environment for everyone to enjoy. I assure you, there’s a reason why leash laws exist.
And if your dog really enjoys running around make sure it’s always in a fenced-in area.
You would never want your dog to be hurt. You would never want your dog to be the one who hurts another. You would never want to lose your dog. You would never want to see someone else lose their dog.
That’s why you ALWAYS should have your dog on a leash.