This one is going to step on some toes – sorry folks!
I often hear people explain their choice to have their dogs unleashed in public/leash-required areas by saying, “My dog is super friendly – he won’t hurt anyone!” I’ve also heard, “He doesn’t go too far, and he almost always comes when I call.”
These individuals assume that the leash law is just for them – and that because their dog is friendly or usually comes when called that the law is irrelevant to them. Friends, this simply isn’t the case. Nearly every week, I hear my clients complain about off leash dogs who run up on their leashed dogs. And here’s the thing – most of these client dogs ARE REACTIVE. Dogs who are aggressive or fearful do not need your happy-go-lucky pup running up into their faces – no matter how much of a social butterfly your pup may be!
I have clients who have worked extremely hard to improve their dog’s behavior, but they are still nervous about going to our local Greenway because of the large number of off leash dogs who show no obvious training or manners. That is simply unacceptable.
Listen folks, I get it. Most of you don’t have large yards to let your dogs run and we only have one dog park (which I hear negative reviews on regularly) in the area. Regardless, it doesn’t give you the right to ignore a law or rule that has been put in place not only to protect other dogs and people, but your dog as well! If you need to practice obedience at a distance, or even play a small game of fetch, why not use a lightweight long line to make sure you remain in control?
Please, respect your fellow dog lovers and keep your dog leashed where required – especially when that area is a high traffic area. Remember that some of the dogs you see at the Greenway have been attacked by off leash dogs – and they are still affected by that fear and anxiety!
This is spot on. Kudos for stating the obvious so well. We have raised Service animals which is a 25/7 commitment, and one bad experience can undo it all. Puppies imprint very early in life and being frightened or injured by an overly active or reactive strang dog can cause them to be unable to react properly as a service dog. I had one dog who would never start something but would finish it! A long line is much cheaper than vet bills.