|Barked: Mon Feb 18, '13 7:42am PST |
|Lupi's 5 now. All grown up and seriously bonded to me. Quite obedient (especially for a Doxie and much less reactive than she used to be.
So lately I've been fantasizing about losing the leash. My city has strict leash laws, and I abide by them, but I keep thinking about how nice it would be-freeing-to simply have her under voice control.
This past weekend we visited another town in a different province. A small town, with a much more laid-back feel than my city. Right away I noticed that just about every dog was off-leash! Not just in parks, but walking down the quieter streets of town as well. I scrutinized any signs relating to dogs and they simply said dogs needed to be under control and picked up after.
Needless to say, Lupi got to spend her weekend off-leash. It was wonderful! She heeled when asked and stayed close the rest of the time, lagging behind only for the occasional sniff. She met lots of nice dogs, and we met so many people who had to stop and talk about her, or "Weiner dogs" in general. Not saying that wouldn't have happened had she been on-leash, but just to show the friendly, dog-loving culture.
A few observations I made: The off-leash dogs were much calmer than the few leashed ones. Only leashed dogs jumped on people or greeted other dogs inappropriately. Perhaps they were kept on-leash because of that.
No dogs showed any reactivity or aggression. Was this because people who have reactive dogs are afraid to walk them due to the high number of off-leash dogs? Or does the leash play a huge part in reactivity (flight is not an option, so fight becomes the only choice?)
People seemed far more dog-savvy than the ones I run into in my own city. Now this could have been pure coincidence, but I spoke to so many different people who seemed to have a fair bit of knowledge about Dachshunds (although we never saw another Doxie) and dog behavior. In a pet supply shop, Lupi was clearly stressed (by the way, she was on-leash in the store!). There were rats and mice being sold, and her focus was only on those smells. Anyway, several people came up to meet her and all observed that she was throwing calming signals and didn't want to be petted. One lady noticed her lip-licking, and another even commented on her "stress shake" One guy actually said, "You can sniff me and I won't try to pet you!" I could have hugged him! Here, even the folks who work at pet supply stores will try to pet my dog when I tell them she's afraid.
Besides her stressful pet store experience, Lupi had a great time. I think it was freeing for both of us, not worrying about the leash.
Obviously there are reasons for leash-laws, but it was interesting to see how things "worked" without them. How many of you would enjoy the chance for a leash-free weekend? Or do any of you get to live that way all the time?
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