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Six Reasons to Keep Your Dog On Leash In Public

Updated: May 11

If you have ever been attacked by an off leash dog, this scenario may seem all too familiar.

One of my dog training clients and I were training her dog to walk on a leash by walking down the street.  As we started back toward the house, the client remarked that a house we just passed by had two off leash dogs that live there.  I then saw them out in their yard.  The dog we were walking noticed too and kept looking in that direction.

I took the harness from the client to direct the dog’s attention back on us, when out of nowhere came two off leash dogs from the opposite direction.  The larger dog grabbed the dog I was walking by its throat.

I admit I said some choice words.  The owner ran after his dogs to get the one away from attacking the dog I was holding.  The smaller dog barked a couple of times and then ran off in the direction that it came.  I looked over the dog I still was holding, which had been trying to get away from the first dog, and it seemed to be OK.  But that was the end of the lesson because cortisol levels in all three of us were too high to continue.

The entire incident lasted maybe a total of 15 seconds but now I have to worry about fallout from it; that the dog I was training could become dog reactive and its fear could spill over onto the owner.

That’s why cities and towns, including the locality in which I was training, have leash laws. 

And when I mean a leash, I do NOT mean an e-collar, otherwise known as a shock collar.  I am talking about a physical piece of fabric that you hold and the other end connects to the dog.  Here are just a few reasons to keep your dog on leash:


1.      While some people think having a dog off leash gives them more freedom, it’s just the opposite because you lose a certain level of control.  Your dog could run after a wild animal.  An encounter with a raccoon or a fox may mean your dog is in quarantine because of the threat of rabies.

No dog is 100% reliable when encountering a squirrel or other wildlife dashing across a street: they could chase an animal into the street and be hit by a car.

2.      Even if you’re walking in a quiet neighborhood, a vehicle could come out of nowhere and a distracted or excited dog might not be able to react quickly enough to avoid being struck.  It only takes a split second for tragedy to strike, and keeping your dog leashed significantly reduces this risk.

3.      Your unleashed dog might chase a cyclist or jogger and cause them to fall or otherwise get hurt.

4.      Leash laws are in place for a reason.  Letting your dog roam off leash in a public area could result in fines or legal action if it causes any disturbances or harms people or other animals.

5.      Off leash dogs could get injured from snakes, sharp objects, poison ivy or other dangerous plants, or another off leash dog could charge at them and you have no way to get your dog back.

6.      Having your dog on leash shows respect for others.  Not every person loves dogs and doesn’t want your dog running up to them while they’re on a walk or just trying to enjoy their day.

By keeping your dog on a leash, you're not only protecting them from harm but also showing respect for the safety and comfort of others in your community. It's a small effort that can make a big difference in keeping everyone safe and happy.

If you need help training your dog to walk nicely on a leash, feel free to check out our website and then contact us!


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