Your dog is well behaved; he never runs off or gets aggressive with other dogs. And that’s wonderful. But that also doesn’t mean your dog should be let off-leash in public spaces. There are so many variables when it comes to taking your dog in public, and you never know what can happen. Keeping your dog —and the people around you — safe starts with keeping him on a leash.
Even if you’re convinced that your dog is so well-trained that he would absolutely never run off or misbehave, don’t underestimate the temptations and distractions of the outside world. Even the most well-trained dog slips up from time to time if he sees or smells or hears something particularly interesting. And if he does, you don’t want him to be off-leash and out of your sight before you can grab him.
It’s always possible for your dog to get startled by something unexpected. Whether the result is him running into a street, lashing out at a stranger, or just cowering in fear, this is preventable in the first place. Even if all of these are unique or uncommon situations, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. If your pet does run off, the last thing you want is for him to get lost or injured, or to injure someone else.
Beyond risks from a dog running off, there are also risks posed by other dogs. If your dog is unleashed and comes across a more aggressive dog on a leash, that dog or your own may feel more anxious or territorial because one is off-leash. This is more likely to result in aggressive behavior between the two, and one dog being off-leash also makes it harder to keep them separated and safe from an unpleasant interaction.
Then factor in the people in the public spaces you visit with your dog. When you’re out in public you have no idea which of the people around you are dog lovers and which may fear or distrust dogs. Perhaps some have bad dog allergies. None of this is your dog’s fault, and though most people may love your friendly dog trotting up to them, not all will.
I personally love dogs but also go out in public every week with a client who is autistic and terrified of dogs. And without fail, every week unleashed dogs come right up to him and terrify him to the point that we have to leave wherever we are. Be conscientious of the people around you. Having your dog on a leash makes this easier to do.
Ultimately a leash is a cheap tool that effectively limits risks to your dog and the dogs and people around you in public places. And a number of states also have leash laws. Leashing your dog in public is the logical step to keeping them safe wherever you go.
Featured Image: SanyaSM/Getty Images
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