Is Your Dog Ready To Be Off Their Leash?

One of the true joys of dog ownership is allowing them the freedom to explore, have fun, and be a dog.

Our dogs must have their physical and mental stimulation needs met in order to keep them healthy and in a good place psychologically. But, something every dog owner should be considering before letting their dog off-leash is how their dog will act when new and interesting distractions inevitably appear in the environment. Does your dog run over to other dogs?

Can your dog resist the temptation of running over to people for attention? Will your dog chase birds? and so on.

Awareness has been spreading rapidly on the topic of having control of your dog at all times and how allowing your dog to run over to other dogs/people is unacceptable. What is often missed however, is the explanation into why this is such a problem, and why we think it’s so important that owners are educated about this.

Let’s assume that your dog is super sociable and friendly, and simply wants to play. Picture this;

  • The dog that your dog is running over to may be nervous or fearful. Resulting in the potential for a dog fight (fight or flight) and causing a traumatic experience for the dog, further adding to their emotional troubles.
  • The owner in the distance may have been working for months and months on resolving reactivity problems. So, having your dog bombard them has the potential to trash months of hard training. The hours of training, money spent on trainers, and books and blogs read, isn’t always there to be seen.
  • A dog may be recovering from an injury or surgery, meaning they have to be on a lead during their recovery period. Your dog zooming around and jumping on them may cause injury.
  • Dogs, like humans, are animals. And sometimes they act like it. They have 42 sharp teeth and will use them if they feel it’s necessary, and that isn’t always for reasons we’d agree with. Things can take a turn for the worst very quickly, and when they do it quickly puts what’s truly important into perspective.
  • Everytime your dog ignores your recall and runs over to a dog or person to play, it’s self-rewarding and becomes more ingrained each and everytime, making the behaviour more difficult to resolve as time goes on.
  • Not all people like dogs (psychopaths) and as hard as it is for us dog lovers to imagine, some people are terrified of dogs. It is against the law for a dog to be dangerously out of control, so if someone is worried that the dog may cause them distress, The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 is being breached.

Please understand that when another owner gets angry, upset, or asks you to put your dog on a leash, they aren’t saying it for no reason. They are doing it for their dogs, themselves, and the safety of your dog. For those out there who are really struggling with their dogs behaviour, you will make their day by showing them a little bit of consideration and giving them the space they really need.

We all love our dogs dearly, so let’s come together under the banner of that, rather than dividing into groups and attacking each other over a difference of opinion or a lack of understanding and awareness.

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