|photo from Americanhunter.org|
It seems that these days many people feel that their dog should be able to walk around off leash in public spaces. I don't mean in a dog park or a dog beach where dogs are sanctioned to be off leash, but rather just out and about in the public realm where there are all kinds of animals and people mingling.
Needless to say, the people who feel entitled to an off leash lifestyle for their dogs feel that their dog is super well trained and has no aggression issues towards people or pets. They will usually say that their dog "always" obeys their command of "come" or "no" or even that their dog is not interested in people or other animals. In fact, the person may feel they are in total control over their dog which is often referred to as "bomb proof. " Thinking your dog is perfect is okay (although unrealistic) and may even true up to a point. Regardless of whether you have what you think is a "bomb proof" dog or not, is it EVER okay to have your dog off leash around other people and dogs who may not be so dog friendly or well trained?
Here are some reasons that I feel it is not wise to walk your dog around the neighborhood off leash:
- Some people are afraid of dogs, I mean phobic, so they panic if approached by a dog. Some kids also feel this way. A dog could react negatively to sensing the fear in the person or sudden movements. Kids are especially susceptible to dog bites since they are small and their face is so close to the dog's face.
- Some dogs are not dog-friendly when approached by a dog especially when they are on leash and the other dog is not, this can be very dangerous to the off-leash dog and the on-leash dog.
- No dog is 100% bomb proof, if something unexpected happens, how do you get your off-leash dog under control?
- If something goes wrong are you prepared to pay for any damage, vet bills, doctor bills? It could be very expensive and may even end up in a lawsuit.
- It's against the law to have your dog off leash in public places,I guess there is probably a reason for that...just sayin'.