I want to know why so many dog owners think that it’s okay to have their dog off leash everywhere. Do dog owners think a “good” dog will walk next to them and only “bad” dogs need to be on a leash? They don’t realize the leash is there to protect their dog, not punish them.
I worked in emergency medicine full time for 13 years and part time for 7 years. The most common emergency we saw were dogs hit by cars. I have lost track of how many times a client said, “He never ran into the street before.” So many dogs have died, been severely injured and hospitalized because they were not on a leash. I sometimes wish I could issue tickets to the leash law violators (okay so it is more than just sometimes). We’re living in a society, people! Leashes are required in the city and in parks and on most hiking trails (as well as picking up dog poop and humans wearing deodorant).
I am not against dogs being able to run, free from leashes. But there are places for that such as dog parks, doggie day cares, or your own back yard. Being leash free on a busy intersection in the middle of town is a big NO! No one ever plans on their dog being hit by a car, but it happens every day and it is awful. And flexi-leashes DO NOT COUNT. Ugh, worst invention ever. Thank you dog trainers, veterinarians and behaviorists for coming out against these awful things! If your dog is 10 feet away from you on a spring loaded cord, you are not in control. And if your dog is on a leash, but you are not holding the other end, IT DOES NOT COUNT. That is like setting a seat belt on your lap, but not buckling it. Doesn’t count.
Disclaimer here, when I take my dogs hiking I do let them off leash. However I check the trail first to make sure there are no cliffs and drop offs (please do not let your dog off leash near cliffs… so many dogs have fallen off the trail and died or been seriously injured. Dogs can still have fun off leash, but please use good judgment as to where this is okay. When clients come into our clinic, and their dog is off leash, the front desk staff will put a slip lead on the dog and let the owner know we require dogs to be on a leash. We have a sign in the lobby as well. Please, everyone, reinforce the delicious goodness of leashes both in the clinic and out!
And humans, please wear deodorant.