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8 Good Reasons to Leash Your Dog

8 Good Reasons to Leash Your Dog

Walking a well-trained dog off-leash may seem natural and safe, but I hope that next time your pup has to go potty, you’ll grab that leash for your safety and for hers!

 

When I was around five months pregnant I was out for a run with my dog, Jenna. Jenna is a good girl, but she’s a little bit fearful. Going on runs with me is one of her favorite activities. When she sees me strapping on my shoes, she does a happy dance, then sits and waits at attention for her collar. We hit a trail in a local park that morning, and Jenna was happily running by my side when suddenly a friendly off-leash dog came bounding up to us to say hello. Jenna panicked and tried to run away, pulling the leash in front of me. I tripped on the leash and almost wiped out on the concrete. It was a mess.

Related Reading: Natural Remedies for Dog Anxiety

When it was all over, the owner walking the dog called his pup who obediently came, but at that point it was a little bit too late, right? I’d almost fallen, my poor nervous dog was scared, and his dog was probably startled by all of the activity too.

Unless youíre in an area thatís specifically off-leash – like a dog park – itís important to remember that the other people and dogs are not expecting to run into off-leash dogs. For some people that can be scary, and for some dogs that can seem threatening. If your dog is the only one in the equation or you’re at a dog park where all of the dogs have free reign, having her off-leash when you’re walking the dog is no problem.

Related Reading: 5 DIY Ways to Spoil Your Dog

The scenario above illustrates a few reasons that a leash is a good idea when you’re walking the dog. The list below lays out some of the issues from that scene plus some additional reasons that you should leash your dog when you’re out on a walk.

Walking the Dog

Your dog is safer on the leash.

1. You donít know me. Some people are scared of dogs, and some people are mean to dogs. I’ve seen off-leash dogs really scare people, and often the owner doesn’t notice. This makes sense, because you’re not scared of your dog. For someone who’s been bitten or isn’t around dogs often, a strange dog walking up to him or her can be frightening.

2. You donít know my dog. I completely believe that your dog is sweet and well-behaved, but what about my dog? Maybe my dog doesnít care for other dogs. Even if she does, having an off-leash dog approach while I’m walking the dog on-leash can be scary for my dog. If your off-leash dog approaches her and gets bitten, who is at fault?

3. You donít know where your dog is going to go. And by go, I mean go potty. Off-leash dogs tend to pee and poop where they please, and that can be just plain unneighborly. If you’re walking the dog on-leash, you can keep her from trampling flower beds and direct her to go where it’s more appropriate.

4. People arenít expecting to encounter your off-leash dog. Letting your dog off-leash in the park, for example, can be dangerous for cyclers and runners who arenít looking for dogs. They could trip or get knocked over, and your dog could get injured as well.

Walking the Dog

Are you sure your dog wouldn't run after a stray cat?

5. All dogs are unpredictable, even yours. Just like people, dogs have moods and emotions. Even the sweetest, kindest dog can get spooked or caught off guard or decide on a whim that they want to chase a cat. If your dog is off-leash when one of these things happens, she could run into the street or accidentally injure a stranger.

6. Wildlife is unpredictable. Your kind, curious dog may not know that sniffing a snake or trying to play with an opossum is a bad idea.

7. Plants are unpredictable. Can your dog spot poison ivy? Even in my intown neighborhood Iíve had to pull Jenna away from this dangerous plant while out walking the dog. Dogs can break out in blisters from poison ivy just like humans, and the oil on their coats can get onto your skin, too.

8. There are enticing things on the ground. Letís be honest: dogs will eat pretty much anything. Especially in urban areas, thereís a good chance they can encounter things that are dangerous for them to eat, and when you’re walking the dog off-leash, you may not be close enough to know whatís happening. Iím thinking here of litter. Are you sure your dog wonít go for a half-eaten chocolate bar or a baggie with white powder inside if youíre not there to correct her?

If you have a good, obedient pup, you may feel like a leash is optional when you’re out walking the dog, but there are some solid reasons to leash your dog for her safety, for yours, and for people around you.

Read more: Everyday Pet Care, Pets, Safety, , , , ,

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Becky Striepe

Becky Striepe is a freelance writer and vegan crafter living in Atlanta, Georgia. Her lifeís mission is to make green crafting and vegan food accessible to everyone! Like this article? You can follow Becky on Twitter or find her on Facebook!

133 comments

+ add your own
12:39AM PDT on Oct 15, 2014

Thank you!

12:53PM PDT on Sep 9, 2014

thanks for sharing :)

2:58PM PDT on Jun 27, 2014

thanks

7:51AM PDT on Jun 19, 2014

Is six months later too late to comment? Meant to get to this earlier but somehow didn't. I always walk my dog on leash. In the last four or five years my dog has been attacked 3 times by dogs not on leash. These dogs came completely out of nowhere. They were not strays. The last one was this past Feb. A guard dog at a local auto shop that apparently somebody did not secure correctly. Thankfully a truck from the utility company happened by as I was trying to protect my dog. And thankfully there's a police substation a couple of blocks up the street. They arrived quickly. Animal control arrived a short time later. The other dog was not registered and the auto shop did not have insurance. The auto shop found itself in a big mess. Fortunately my dog was not seriously hurt. He did get a couple of moderate scratches but no puncture wounds. I was so upset the police asked if I needed to go to the hospital. I love dogs but I am very nervous when I see an off leash dog. And, yes, my city has a leash law but dogs can still get loose either through somebody's inattention or by a dog being clever at getting out. I've seen plenty of people walking their dog and not paying much attention to their dog or their surroundings, usually on their cell phone. Aside from being a call of nature, walking your dog is supposed to be a bonding experience.

11:21AM PDT on May 25, 2014

My dogs get the privilege of running off leash, but that's because they're on my 9+ acres. If I have them out anywhere, because I don't know what they or others would do, they're right beside me. Period. Living in an urban area, the liability and likelihood of suit is so high that you're crazy to have them off leash anywhere other than behind a strong gate.

10:50AM PDT on May 25, 2014

I frequently walk my dog, my foster dog and my two year old in a stroller. In the past 3 weeks, we have been fronted by as many loose dogs, not walking,but in the front yard of their house. (Owners present, but not restraint). My dog is a foster rescue and loathes being fronted while he's "working"(on leash). Same for my current foster. The owners were present,but seemed to think it was ok for their dogs to run out of their yard into the street and confront us.(no sidewalks in our older 'hood). One even said he didn't want to grab his dog because he had just taken out the trash and his hands were dirty! Sheesh! I bought mace and the next time this happens, the dog gets maced. Maybe the owner too....LEASH LAWS EXIST FOR A REASON!

10:50AM PDT on May 25, 2014

I frequently walk my dog, my foster dog and my two year old in a stroller. In the past 3 weeks, we have been fronted by as many loose dogs, not walking,but in the front yard of their house. (Owners present, but not restraint). My dog is a foster rescue and loathes being fronted while he's "working"(on leash). Same for my current foster. The owners were present,but seemed to think it was ok for their dogs to run out of their yard into the street and confront us.(no sidewalks in our older 'hood). One even said he didn't want to grab his dog because he had just taken out the trash and his hands were dirty! Sheesh! I bought mace and the next time this happens, the dog gets maced. Maybe the owner too....LEASH LAWS EXIST FOR A REASON!

4:44PM PST on Feb 15, 2014

YES ty

7:18AM PST on Jan 19, 2014

It isn't just about the dogs. If some moron human wants to try to hurt your pup, a leash could well save its life.

6:12AM PST on Dec 27, 2013

Thanks

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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