Running into off-leash dogs can be infuriating. I used to get so huffy when I walked Kaeto and a dog would come bounding toward us. Just one incident could set us back months of training. The absolute worst was when people would yell “oh, my dog’s friendly”. What about my dog? What about me? I’m very lucky with Mauja and Atka because they have never shown any signs of leash reactivity, but there are more reasons for me to keep them on leash.
- I don’t know your life. Do you like dogs? Are you afraid of dogs? Did you have a bad experience with the breed I’m walking? Are you allergic? Maybe you’re on your way to work and you don’t want to get furry. My dogs may be cute and sweet, but not everyone wants to greet them all the time. I need to respect that.
- I don’t know your dog. Reactive dogs are not uncommon. In fact, many social butterflies are not comfortable on leash when approached by an off leash dog. Totally understandable. Just once negative encounter could cost that dog months of training and confidence building. I want to make sure I’m helping every dog to thrive the best they can.
- It’s just dangerous. Little furry creatures are fun to chase. Dogs can run after something and get lost. If you’re in a neighborhood, cars or bikes could injure your dog. If you’re in the woods, hunters have shot dogs by accident and rattlesnakes can be anywhere. You never know what is going to pop up.
- Things can get messy. I frequently have to use the ‘leave it’ command during walks. Whether it be trash, old food, a plant, or some foreign object, I like to make sure I can avoid the dogs ingesting something they shouldn’t. We’ve also walked in areas where I have found broken glass. If my dogs weren’t on leash, I wouldn’t be able to keep them safe from these harmful materials.
- Dogs are dogs. I know my dogs. I know that an off leash dog can approach and we’ll be okay. I know that Mauja gets excited about squirrels and wants to chase them. I know they’re good with men, women, kids, and people of all ages. But. I know that they are dogs and things can happen. They could very well feel ill and act out of character. More than once Mauja and Atka have gotten nipped by one of the dogs running at us off leash and their owner just can’t seem to understand it. Leashes help keep everyone safe.
How do you keep your dog free of mischief?