Should people allow their dogs off leash in public areas?
Is having your dog on leash all the time detrimental to the dog?
This topic can go back and forth for years with no conclusive argument. We are merely going to weigh up the facts, give advice and offer some help.
To start off we can all agree that if a dog is aggressive or otherwise unfriendly to other dogs, the owner should keep the dog on a leash in public spaces. This is simply to keep the dog under control at all times. Often, these dogs are not the problem though. It’s the dogs who are overly friendly and off leash that come bounding over with only good intentions and its owner has zero control over it.
It is a common thing, we have all seen it, every single day. I know I’m not the only one who gets really angry when this happens.
The own thinks that because their dog is friendly its ok to be off leash because it won’t hurt anyone. That’s not the issue here, the issue is that the owner has no control over it. Then when an on leash dogs lashes out at the dog, people start getting upset that unfriendly dogs are brought out into public spaces.
So, if you are one of those owners who has a grumpy dog and has to deal with other peoples uncontrolled dogs on a regular basis, here are so tips for you:
Walk with an umbrella, if a dog starts bounding over to you uninvited, open the umbrella towards the dog when it gets within a few metres. This should startle it and slow its approach. You can also use it as a shield for your dog.
Little side note, Make sure you get your dog used to umbrellas first or else you may startle your dog more that the other one.
Try and walk at quieter times of the day, this may mean that you end up walking earlier in the morning or something but it might be well worth it.
You can also get high vis vests to wear so that people know to keep their dogs away from you. You can even get them for your dog!
Now for the people who have super friendly dogs that just want to go and say hello to everyone.
YOUR DOGS ARE THE PROBLEM! If you cannot call your dog away from another dog, it should not be off leash. Most problems occur when a dog approaches another dog and doesn’t know when to leave. Its not always the friendly dogs, I do acknowledge that, many over confident dogs do the same thing and cause problems for everyone.
Here are some suggestions for you: Get your dog trained. Your dog obviously loves interacting with other dogs so if you get it trained to have a perfect recall and good socialisation skills then it will be able to walk in the park off lead and play with other dogs that want to play.
At the end of the day everybody and every dog needs to have consideration for others. No matter how friendly your dog is, if it doesn’t listen to you in a public park it should not be allowed off the leash. If it misbehaves it should not be allowed off leash. In this article the owner of a dog seems to think it is ok for his dog to be chasing after wild animals, THATS NO OK!! I do however, agree with his sentiment. Dogs are far happier off leash than on. You as the owner just need to be able to control your dog at all times.
If you want to let your dog off leash go and find a quiet space to walk your dog, away from others.