By - chaiosi
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I just finished reading [Merle’s Door](https://www.amazon.com/Merles-Door-Lessons-Freethinking-Dog/dp/0156034506). The author makes a great case for the benefits to dogs when they have off-leash freedom.
Yes, and there are also examples of US municipalities that are trying to increase opportunities for dogs to be off leash in places other than dedicated dog parks.
The [Green Dog Program](https://www.brooklinema.gov/752/Green-Dog-Program) in Brookline, MA is one example. Check it out. In my city, which is somewhat nearby, there are a few mixed-use parks and trails that allow dogs to be off leash at all times, and there are several others that have off-leash hours. The standard of behavior in these places is pretty high.
And, look, people, let's please think about this issue imaginatively and get beyond the usual inane exchange of cliches decorated with anecdotes? If I see "leash laws are there for a reason" again, I may die. This isn't just about dogs, or about dogs being on or off leashes. It's about finding ways to build and share green space in cities, for example, among other things.
A lot of NYC parks allow dogs off-leash before 9 AM. That’s how we get our off-leash exercise in!
This looks amazing! I would even be willing to take a test on off leash behavior to be able to use an area off leash (service dogs are allowed to be off leash in my area for example but I’m not trying to lie about my dog being a service dog)
Well, get people together in your community and start talking, get pilot programs going!
This is good advice. I will look into what it would take
Just start doing it and do it well.
>If I see "leash laws are there for a reason" again, I may die.
Omg same 😣 is there no room for nuance in these kinds of discussions?
Sometimes I feel like it must be kids who don’t even have dogs parroting what they’ve seen gets a lot of upvotes, or something…
I'm from the UK and it always baffled me that Reddit (which is mainly American) is so extremely anti off leash.
Our dog truly lives for our daily off leash walks in nature where she can sniff around and bump into other dogs that she runs around and plays with.
Most other dogs are off leash as well but if you see a leashed dog you call your dog back and check if the other owner is OK with your dog being off leash, most often their dog is leashed because they don't trust its recall yet.
It's so amazingly enriching and good for her. Actually not just for her but also for us, it's pure bliss watching a dog be so happy and free in nature.
It's lovely for everyone involved while on Reddit I see threads about people asking how to defend themselves against off leash dogs. It's usually pepper or bear spray or some blunt instrument that's mentioned but some even mention carrying guns or knives to kill approaching dogs which sounds utterly bonkers to me, what kind of strange world are these people living in?
I don't know if it's owners who are more scared and aggressive in America or if its the dogs, and there is actually an issue with aggressive dogs running around attacking people and dogs, but the dog culture seems very different. Dog attacks is not something I'm afraid of in my everyday life. The first reaction I have when I see an off leash dog is "Great, a play mate for my dog!" or if there isn't an owner around, I assume it's lost and I try to find the owner.
Edit: Merle's door looks like an interesting read. Kinda reminds me of many homeless people's dogs I see who are remarkably well behaved off leash. They might not follow command but they know what to do because they figured it out themselves.
I saw a lab outside a shop once, a narrow and very busy pavement next to a busy road, the dog was off leash and very calmly just waiting for its owner. I can't imagine training my dog to do that.
I mean first of all I would never dare risk it and trust my dog enough so it would never be trained to do it and figure it out themselves.
I agree! Also from western Europe and the only reason I would leash my dog in nature is when incompatible another animal approaches (horse/leashed dog/ducklings/etc) or a road is near. Other unleashed dogs are playmates! America is so hostile towards anything and anyone. Living there seems very tiring.
Living in America is indeed tiring from so many angles. Where in western Europe should I look for a job? 🤪
Do y'all not have dog attacks? You are right, america is tiring, and lucky for you we export all of this toxicity so it's coming to a European city near you any day now.
There are still dog attacks - we’re in the UK and my dog was attacked as a puppy - but they don’t seem as common. Because off-leash is accepted for dogs pretty much anywhere (and depending on where you live, there’s more green spaces in general), you usually get less concentrated amounts of dogs in any given off-leash area, there’s less pressure to interact and excitement between dogs so unlike a dog park they’re less likely to explode at one another and it’s easier to keep your distance. Also, when a dog is raised with frequent off-leash walks (in my experience) they tend to build better habits - eg. they’re more likely to recall and have good proximity because being off-leash isn’t as novelty/exciting.
There seems to be much less of a problem with stray and unsupervised dogs, which could possibly contribute, and we have a ‘yellow dogs’ program for nervous/reactive dogs which seems pretty effective at encouraging people to keep away.
I think your point about less strays is definitely a huge point. In the US there's a huge lack of responsibility and accountability when it comes to animals.
I agree 100%. I ride my recumbent trike, with an enclosure my dog sits inside of on a local "Greenway" going on nearly a year. I have had issues with 3 dogs showing aggression and even when I alert the people a distance a head and they stop and pulled their dog over to the side of path the dog is struggling to get at us. The first a German Shepherd with owners too old to walk a dog so large that while growling they can barely keep it in check...fortunately after a few events they either stopped walking him there or at different times, the second a pit bull, same story owners couldn't keep it healed...the 3rd a large poodle with an owner who I assume from his attitude, and haircut a Cop, this one has been going on for a few months, the dog is on an extendable leash and he doesn't even hold it pulled in when the lunging incidents happen...I give up and told him "next time the dog lunges at me and my 18lb dog I will kill it, and you if necessary" Haven't seen him since and I am glad. I met an older woman there walking her dog who carries a revolver, for this reason, people who don't take responsibility for training their dog's, and reacting in a pro-active way. I love animal's, but I really like my skin, and my lap dog is only aggressive to squirrels'...
Most of the dogs out their are friendly and decently mannered but unfortunately in the US, we have to make rules and regulations for the folks that just don't accept the responsibility's that buying that cute puppy involves, and it's sad.
I'm sure there are dog attacks, I mean it's a big country and there has been a fair amount of deadly dog attacks in the news lately with kids involved due to the pandemic puppy boom. But I never experienced one or even heard of one around where I'm living.
Sure you get the occasional growl, bark or snap when one dog tells the other it doesn't want to play or had enough, but that's how dogs communicate and I never experienced or heard of an incident where it escalated to an actual attack in my area and we walk our dog off leash 1-3h every day(although not at the moment due to recovery from an op, but that's going to be the hardest part for her and us, no off leash walks for three months).
Dogs definitely learn how to behave off leash if they are used to be off leash. My FIL used to never let their dog off leash and it was dog crazy. Whined and cried and barked like crazy everytime it saw a dog off leash it couldn't play with. And then when it was let off leash it just went completely bananas due to all the freedom.
Now that it's getting more used to be off leash (throw in that they also made the dog ball obsessive) it's behaving much better.
The US is a heavily policed society so all it would take is 1 bad dog owner to ruin things for the rest unfortunately.
I think part of the issue is that there are too many people with dogs that have not been properly trained in recall, etc.
A friend of mine had a dog that was generally a good boy, but would get aggressive if another dog approached him quickly and got in his face. That dog was never off leash because we knew he could really hurt another dog for this reason.
There have been many times where we were hiking and another dog would come running up to us, and it’s owner would just say “he/she is friendly!!” Without checking to see if the other dog was or wasn’t. When we told them our dog was not friendly, there were too many times that the owner couldn’t get their dog to come back to them. It made for a situation where our dog could have hurt another dog, and ultimately it was because the off-leash dog wasn’t well trained. But if our dog had hurt the other, we would get blamed. It was frustrating and scary.
True offleash training includes passing and ignoring distractions (people and dogs). I never understand people who let their dogs offleash without training, if your dog can't hold a heel passing by distractions you shouldn't let it offleash.
> I think part of the issue is that there are too many people with dogs that have not been properly trained in recall, etc.
Yes. But recall is in the choosing as well as the training. There *are* breeds that are handler-focused and hardwired to stay close or within sight. Teaching a rough collie to come will often be easy, for ex. Teaching, say, a terrier, not so much.
I'm french and I have the same feeling, american dog culture seems weird ? In France it's like what you described, dogs off leash are pretty common and most people aren't afraid of dogs, even big dogs.
Australian and pretty similar experiences here. Even though most places are on lead unless signposted otherwise, we do have plenty of parks, walk trails and beaches where dogs are allowed off lead in addition to enclosed dog parks. We get the occasional story of a scuffle between dogs or quite rare genuine attacks by unleashed dogs but on the whole people are pretty responsible about whether their dogs are suitable to walk off lead in public areas. We actually have more frequent problems at dog parks because people whose dogs aren't really ready for it are just let loose to run amok.
Nothing tires my girl out more than an exuberant run along the beach with a few mutual zoomies for good measure. She loves it, even if she's a total princess about getting her feet wet
I think its more common in the country to have dogs off leash. But in a city there are just so many variables and so many dogs that using leashes is the safest option
Houston, TX use to have an unofficial “dog park” where people let their dogs off leash - and it was heaven. The area was surrounded by two busy roads on two sides, a bayou on the third side, and more park on the fourth. Because of the risk of a dog going into a road or drowning in the bayou, people watched their dogs like hawks. We also pooper scooped to perfection as we knew what we were doing was illegal and didn’t want to give the City a reason to start hassling us.
Eventually the city had a great (sarcasm) idea. They would put a real dog park there. They spent tons, lakes with fountain and little water fall, a pavilion, fencing, dog wash area….
We went once afterwards. Now there were owners on their phone, not watching I’ll behaved dogs, and not noticing when their dog pooped - or didn’t care.
To top it off, the cement laid for the lake made the area flood so the park was always closed.
So yes, open space dog friendly areas are much better for people who have trained dogs.
I’m in the UK and I didn’t really realise until I joined this sub how strict the US is with leash laws. We don’t have them here, pretty much every open green space there will be off leash dogs and you know what, it’s fine. If we’re on the field near our house and I see another dog come on the field, I call her and put her back on the lead. Only cause she’s still pretty young and boisterous and not all dogs appreciate that, when she matures I may not do that. It depends on the other dog too, if they come on the field leashed I definitely put her back on. If they come on unleashed I might have a quick chat and ask if it’s ok for them to play.
It’s just expected that any open green space there will be off leash dogs. Although we have no leash laws is not accepted to walk down the street with an unleashed dog as that can pose a risk to other people walking, traffic etc. Just common sense stuff. If someone has a reactive or aggressive dog then it’s understood you don’t take them where other dogs will be. We do have private dog fields that can be hired for a small fee and these are growing in popularity. I used it when I dog sat for a friend and didn’t trust his recall with me.
My dogs favourite place is the woods and she absolutely loves her off leash sniffy time in there, if there’s muddy puddles she can go berserk in than that’s just a bonus.
My grandparents live in a very rural area and it’s definitely expected that dogs will be off leash there. The dogs are trained to know how to behave off leash and people know how to act as well.
Yep, we walk our boy at a park with football pitches (soccer for the US reader).
We stick to edge/wooded area and our boy goes off lead (leash for the US reader) and doesn’t bother the players or spectators. As you would expect of a polite well trained dog.
Seems like the US law punish all owners for the sake of the bad owners that won’t train their dogs or keep them on a lead.
I also wonder if the U.K. habit of having [fenced](https://images.app.goo.gl/1mVqeAFvJwnFzhuS8) play areas for kids helps? Dogs are forbidden from these areas usually, or only allowed in on leads.
For anyone not familiar, these fences are to keep kids safe, not just from dogs but to stop little kids from running off, they help keep litter out, can be locked at night to discourage teens playing in them (although we all just hopped the fences). They also make it really easy to spot anyone hanging around in the play area that doesn’t have a child.
Seems like people in the UK have alot more common sense and respect for others than they do here in the US I've never been there so I don't have personal experience....but it seems like it....
I think it’s just a totally different culture. I’m from England and move to America. Firstly, because there are no off leash laws and England is more walkable people grow up used to it and it’s not surprising or scary. Since it’s normal when you have a dog there’s more chances to train off leash too even if you don’t realise. Plus if a dog grows up with off leash being normal from when they’re a puppy I don’t think they go as crazy like maybe American dogs who see off leash as a really special thing. I guess it’s like if you’re used to always eating lobster and everyone has lobster all the time its not special or luxurious.. that’s what I think from my observations. I might be wrong.
No, that makes sense. Another analogy is alcohol… Americans are so uptight about drinking before age 21, we tend to go a little nuts and rebellious over it. Whereas in countries with looser laws/attitudes, teenagers think it’s no big deal. At least that’s what I experienced when I traveled internationally as a teen. They thought Americans were weirdly excited about liquor, lol.
It's not that Americans are uptight, it's because our Federal Government threatened to withhold highway funding from states that didn't adopt age 21 as the requirement. Previously states made their own rules.
I meant we’re uptight *now that the laws exist*. It was 18 until shortly before I was born, if I’m not mistaken.
I honestly think it's the fact that the US isn't built to be walkable. I would absolutely never let my dog off leash where I live because the small patch of yard I have is surrounded by busy streets full of cars. The only wide open places near me are hiking trails, and I'm not keen on feeding my dog to a cougar or a bear. I'd only let my dog loose in a safe, fenced area.
Europe in general, and many other countries, are designed to be walkable, and has better public transit. There is less traffic and populations aren't so dense. Not many large predators (if any) in the UK either, which is worth considering.
A loose dog in my state could get killed by about 6 different potential animals not including humans and other loose dogs. I can't actually think of a place in the US where your dog is 100% safe off leash when predators are in mind. Buddy of mine had her 50lb dog ambushed by coyotes in broad daylight once. She was letting him run around and sniff stuff on their property and they gunned for him, they'd been hiding in the tall grass the whole time. He survived, but man, it was scary.
>I can't actually think of a place in the US where your dog is 100% safe off leash when predators are in mind.
Having a small dog means anything half her weight and above can be a predator. I love to let my dog out in her spacious, suburban, 0.6acre yard to run around, but not if I'm not there with her. A raven could carry her off, nevermind the foxes we see rolling through. She barks at squirrel, but she would probably run back to me if it put up any fight. She doesn't even rip up cloth toys or whole fried eggs.
In the UK I think the biggest thing that could go for dogs are foxes, badgers maybe, or livestock. Foxes my dog has a vendetta against and she’s 25kg so she’s the danger really, but I keep her on leash around farms of course
This is untrue. The traffic and population density on UK cities is crazy. I walk my dog off leash as much as I can, but even the hiking trails around us are all surprised by busy roads. There are cars everywhere.
The people may be different, sure, but remember, the dog populations are different as well. Very different.
Very genuinely interested to know what you mean by this :) US resident here, I work at a pet store so I see a lot of dogs, most of which could definitely be better behaved. So yeah, what do you mean when you say the dog populations in the US vs. UK are very different? Better behaved, different breeds, etc? 💖
Pitties are banned in the UK for a start. I'm in a different European country where no bully breeds are banned, but I still rarely see pit bull type dogs in my small town. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against these breeds, but they're are prone to dog aggression and they can inflict a great deal of damage.
We don't have a stray dog problem here, and most dogs are purchased as puppies and they receive adequate socialisation. I mainly see a lot of goldens, labs, setters, pointers, collies, aussies, poodle mixes and some shepherds.
Pretty much and a completely different dog culture. Getting a dog is considered a lifestyle choice. Most dog owners in western Europe walk their dogs 4 times a day, including one long walk. The impression I get from the US is that a lot of dogs(absolutely not all) are kept in the backyard, sometimes on a chain, are never walked and are therefore poorly socialized and reactive. Chaining dogs outside has been illegal for over a century in my country. Leaving your dog outside in a dog house has been illegal for decades as well. What is considered acceptable dog ownership is completely different.
> Most dog owners in western Europe walk their dogs 4 times a day, including one long walk. The impression I get from the US is that a lot of dogs(absolutely not all) are kept in the backyard, sometimes on a chain, are never walked and are therefore poorly socialized and reactive.
Respectfully, both of those are maaaaaassive generalizations that are too broad to be useful
That impression is very wrong, and sounds perhaps like it came from movies/tv shows. Most dogs are now kept indoors - dog on a chain in a backyard is something you rarely see and is usually in a lower-income area.
But there is a different dog culture in terms of training. Dog ownership is not very regulated in the U.S. and there is not a strong culture pressuring people to have well-behaved dogs.
and it isn't only large dogs not being trained but a lot of owners of toy breeds think their dogs don't need to be trained because they can just pick them up if they are acting badly. My 18lb Cavalier has some training and knows what is expected of him when we go out. I don't regularly walk him because we have a large fenced in yard for him to chase his birds and squirrels, I do take him out with me on my recumbent trike almost every day and this weekend he came camping with me...he is so quiet for 16 months old.
Thats one of my biggest pet peeves, people not training their little dogs & expecting them to just be perfect little angels & not knowing why their dog ends up reactive or something when they've just been dragging the poor thing around it's whole life without teaching it how to interact with the world around them. Sorry for the run on sentence lol xD and your Cavalier sounds like a great little guy with an awesome life :)
I agree, every dog needs to know it's limits. They like being in our lives, and I couldn't imagine having a dog that thought it was in charge or could do what ever it wants. Training your dog helps keep you and your dog safer. Also, some dogs are not friendly to other dogs but are awesome with humans. So I keep Jack on a short leash (literally lol) to help keep him safe.
> Seems like people in the UK have alot more common sense and respect for others than they do here in the US I've never been there so I don't have personal experience....but it seems like it....
Yeah, I think that's a large part of the problem. America is full of Americans. We've seen over the past 2-3 years that ~25% of us will just be awful because they can, and it's getting worse.
The past fews years have shown the UK has their own problem with awful people as well though.
I hate how true this is.
(I’m American too)
Same here, my wife is American and I didn’t realise it wasn’t normal there that generally park = dogs running round. There’s definitely some common sense involved and you can’t just have dogs wondering about on the streets but I prefer the UK way to be honest
We do have leash laws over here, my dude!
Dogs need to be leashed in all public spaces (fields parks etc are exempt it just means in towns, suburbs, dog friendly shops - anywhere that there’s roads and crowds) and leashed on land where there’s livestock - also needs to be leashed on private property if the owners requires it and if the dog cannot be controlled off leash then they also need to be leashed then as well!
Some councils have bye-laws regarding where to leash your dog (parks can be included) and there are usually signs up! We’re not as strict as the US but we do have them..
I stand corrected! I think a lot of other people must follow the rules anyway without even knowing there is a leash law. Good to know there’s some stuff in place though. Thanks
Oh definitely, you see the odd person here and there with an off leash dog in town but it’s closely monitored and obedient. It’s always parks and fields where people let dogs off (naturally) with no recall forgetting about the laws! It’s the Control of Dogs Act 1986, it states “having a dog dangerously out of control” which includes no recall due to the fact it could cause harm to a child or animal.
There’s the Control of Dogs ORDER 1992 which is a law stating any dog must be wearing a collar with an ID tag engraved with the owners name and address in ANY public space, excluding working dogs, sporting dogs, hunting dogs etc
There’s also the 5 welfare laws as well, it’s a shame though it’s not monitored more closely!
They’re everywhere here, probably 75% of parks have the “dogs must be under control” sign vs the “dogs must be leashed” sign.
You’d think it would be enough to occupy everyone and keep them off the few trails where leashes are required but you’d be wrong!
My dog is always kept on a leash. My hand may not be holding the leash while on trails though. Amazing how many miles his leash has had bouncing off the ground. I could remove the leash, but I prefer having that extra few feet of safety to grab if another person/dog shows up unexpectantly.
>My dog is always kept on a leash. My hand may not be holding the leash while on trails though.
Obviously, if your dog (and ones like it) are well behaved off-leash, and supervised, the rule seems unfair, and you found a legitimate loophole.
In my parents' neighborhood, especially their block, all of the neighbors are furious about the irresponsible, drug-addict's dog that holds the leash in its mouth, shits on everyone's lawn, and *antagonizes every other dog on the block*. Yeah, it's "on a leash", but entirely unsupervised by its meth-head owner. To be clear, all of the neighbors are *responsible* dog owners, some with small children who are afraid to play on *their own lawns* because of this unsupervised dog, and they live with three adult Cane Corsos.
The "housing" above a chop shop had a fire this week and the tenants didn't even ask about the dog. Luckily, it *carried its own unattached leash* to a nearby yard to poop before the building was fully involved. Everyone else was pissed off that the building didn't burn to the ground (no injuries/ added deaths, obviously).
My points are as follows:
1. Dogs don't deserve terrible human beings as owners, and that dog needs a new home. Smart dog, bad owners.
2. Offleash laws aren't specific enough. Dogs "on leash" need to be specified as the owner having physical control of the dog. I know there are *some* dogs that have perfect recall and don't poop anywhere they please and annoy every dog they see, but the *leash law* needs to specify that the leash is also hold by the handler.
3. Responsible people with well-trained dogs shouldn't need to follow stupid rules (specifically on trails, in parks, etc.) set because of dirtbags like this. There *should* be more off leash areas, but dog-friendly areas are looking at dog attacks and liars, so they have to make and fight for "middle ground" laws. And that makes me angry.
Same as (obviously not-) "service dogs" and "ESAs" causing problems, "my dog is off-leash trained" means nothing because too many selfish, irresponsible people make it hard for those who ***DO*** have trained dogs to gain and sustain access.
I totally, totally understand your viewpoint and keep my hand on the leash in any public areas. He's 10 lbs so for his protection I want him near me. He doesn't pose a threat to any other dog or person unlike the dog you mentioned. I worry about his safety when off leash and keep him near because other off leash dogs have gone after him.
BTW my trainer told me not to let a dog hold the leash in their mouth. Mine used to hold his leash as a puppy and it looked so cute but the trainer said to stop letting him do it ASAP. Holding the leash in the mouth means they are taking control of the walk and direction and being the dominant one.
Yup. I'm fortunate enough to be close to a number of game lands, so I walk mine off leash there. Nothing - not agility, not running around my own six acres, and definitely not a long line - settles my dogs the same way that a good off leash walk dogs. They are not nearly as happy without it. It's not that they're crazy dogs who can't settle if they've gone a week or two without off leash time, but I can just see a peace in them when they get that freedom of movement.
BLM and Forest Service land are off leash.
Honestly I love dogs and I love seeing them have their fun off the leash, but I have to admit that where I live (Germany) there aren’t really any leash laws that are followed and it’s absolutely terrifying when someone’s bigger dog just comes running at you full force barking out of nowhere without a leash. Hiking trails would be great for off the leash fun, however I’m firmly against it when it comes to public city environments like where I live.
Completely agree with this. My dog stopped being into dog parks after he turned 4-5 years old, but he lives for exploring off leash. At this point in his life (he's pretty old), dog parks actively stress him (and me) out. I go to great efforts to bring him places like national forests or BLM land where he is allowed to hike off leash under voice control, where he really thrives. It makes me sad and annoyed when I hear people on this sub (often with reactive dogs) constantly talk about how no dogs, without exception, have any business ever being off leash in public anywhere except in dog parks.
Same here. I try and find secluded areas away from the city to let my dogs run and be free. I understand why leashes are necessary, but damn if they don't love a good run and wrastle off leash.
The last sentence of the OP is the real issue - if dog owners were responsible, then there would be almost no need for those “dog must be leashed” signs at all of the parks in my area.
How do you know that? (This is a sincere question.)
I have been seen parks where initially no one really seemed to care about dogs on lead or off.
Then an owner brings a dog that runs up frantically barking at a group of strangers - and the owner’s ability to recall the dog is so poor - or the owner has no ability to recall the dog at all.
So the owner stands there alternating between screaming at the dog and saying, “Don’t worry, he won’t bite!” - while a small child stands there terrified in tears.
Or an owner brings a dog that is so dog-aggressive that their dog runs up to every other dog - even those on leash - growling and snapping. And if course the owner has no effective recall.
I think that issue has increased with the popularity of dogs bred to fight dogs with macho appeal - but that may be wrong.
Or an owner brings a dog who snaps at or chases trail runners.
And then the signs go up, and rangers or other park personnel who used to wink at you when you dog was off lead are all of the sudden yelling or threatening tickets.
I have seen this again and again. This may not be an issue in the western US - where there may be lots of relatively uncrowned BLM lands - but it is huge in the more crowded easter portions of the country.
In those more crowded parks, a dog owner is responsible for their dog’s interaction with other human beings and dogs in the park. It doesn’t take more than a few honors who ignore that responsibility before the signs go up.
Yup. Totally agree. Also an East coaster here and I see so many people who are irresponsible with their off leash dogs. The reason why dogs need to be leashed all of the time is because of owners who are convinced their dogs are 100% under control and then it turns out they aren't.
Its nice that your dog is so well behaved but you can bet that most people that let their dogs off leash are not responsible. I'm lucky. I have 28 acres of woods. All fenced. My dogs are off leash there and have a blast chasing each other. Other than dog parks I don't know what you can do.
Having off leash walks is very important for dogs (but not all can have them). I live in a big and busy city and I don’t let my dog off leash (it’s allowed to have your dog off leash from 8pm to 9am) but I don’t trust her enough in this environment to do so.
But we have a house in a remote village and she loves it there, she is like a different dog, a lot more chill!
In the city we do use a long leash to give her some freedom.
I can't imagine how frustrating it must be for a dog to not be able to run! My pup couldn't stand a day without her daily farm walks and night hunts. Sometimes I forget how lucky I am to live in an area where my dog can be offleash 24/7
I'm with you! I don't trust either of my dogs off-leash, and would never let them run free because I know our limitations, but for people who have really done the work with their dogs and genuinely have them under good control, I think every park system should designate areas where off-leash is allowed. And conversely, trails where dogs MUST be leashed for the rest of us to take our less-perfect pups without getting shat on or attacked (I say this as the guardian of a large dog who seems to be a target for badly-behaved dog teeth...). Sadly a lot of people think rules don't apply to them, but I hope you can lobby the local gov for some support on this!
Honestly, I think there should be more off-leash areas also for people TRYING to train the recall in their dogs. I honestly have a hard time training my dog to be off leash because I have nowhere to take her to let her be off leash!
Good on you for understanding your limits and doing what’s right for you and your animals!
That’s the nice thing about living in a small
Town. Just walk into the woods on pretty much any trail and go off leash and you don’t have to worry about seeing anyone.
Right? You know all these people who are 100% leash law loving ppl live in metropolises or congested areas.
Literally take your dog somewhere away from everything and everyone, then maybe you won’t have a problem lol
Using a long line might help. Gives your dog more freedom but is still leashed. If your dog is great off leash you can call your dog back if someone is near you and grab the long line otherwise just let it drag behind your dog. Just make sure you only clip it to a harness or it could wrap around smth and choke your dog.
Sometimes we do this. My dog is better with a collar than a harness, though (and I’m willing to consider new harness suggestions) and he always stops with leash pressure, even if it’s just caught on a branch. Maybe I need to get better at long line handling! Haha
I'm lucky to have two state hunting areas near me. Hunting and in-training dogs are allowed off-leash over 1430 acres of land. But my dogs have always been socialized and clingy enough that no one has ever objected. I don't hunt and my dogs always leave working pups alone.
Well, my daughter once, when she worked for the DEP.
The problem is how other dogs perceive your dog. Example, my dog is chill as fuck. If I take her to a dog park, no worries. However, if I'm at the same dog park and someone has the dog on a leash, that leashed dog may become aggressive because it feels vulnerable. My dog doesn't understand this and tries to play, which means my dog becomes the aggressor as in, "you can't really fuck with me."
This is pretty common. Take two dogs, each of which is behind a chain link fence. They yell, they yap, they snip because they feel they understand the dynamic. Put them both on the same side and they ignore each other.
Try Sniff Spot. These are private properties folks rent by the hour.
I’ve looked. There are none in my area (yet!) and they can be pricy if you’re using them regularly. FWIW we also don’t need a ‘private’ area and lots of forward movement such as hiking really works for us. We’re starting to see what dog sport resources are available to us and I’m hoping that will help.
You'll probably love dog sports. People for the most part keep their dogs under much better control and respect dogs who need space. I swear 15 minutes of brain exercise is 100 times better than 30 minutes of aimless running or playing. I can run my Pap for an hour and she's back at it in 20 minutes but if I work with her (training), she's so much easier to live with.
I love Sniff Spot. Just spent two hours with my dog on private wooded trails with a fully fenced field to play fetch in. Not all areas have great spots, though, so it’s not an option for everyone!
BLM and Forest Service land
I do not live in a part of the country where this is a resource but I would love using it if I did!
We are thinking of moving because we are retired and our house is worth alot. The problem is just what you are saying, no off leash areas. Currently I go 3 places a week that are all off leash, can't seem to find it in other places.
Wow, until recently due to work schedules my husband and I and our dogs basically lived off BLM and FS land most weekends weather permitting. It’s been rough not being able to do that lately and I can’t imagine living somewhere where that isn’t an option at all!
Same here! I have a Greyhound and all she wants/needs for exercise is like 15mins in a big open grassy area so she can zoom. All the dog parks around me are too small/have too many obstacles for her to actually be able to run, so she doesn't. The last place we lived had a huuuge fenced in dog park which she LOVED, and I mistakenly thought there would be something similar here since this place is supposedly more "dog friendly" than where I used to live. It's not, and we're both disappointed.
It says you're a vet student - you're not at UC Davis, are you?
I'm not, I've graduated now - forgot to change my flair 😅
Congratulations Dr. pretty_things! That’s awesome! I am so happy for you!
Thanks! It feels good 😁
It wasn't very likely but was worth asking. I have a big ranch about 15 minutes from UCD and would have invited you to come do an offleash afternoon some time.
I'm in the northern bay area so not too far from Davis!
Well, let me know if you're ever in Woodland and want to do a play date, my labs don't get off the ranch much and *really* like meeting others.
That's about an hour from me, maybe I'll make a trip out of it one weekend!
OH - I just discovered a great dog park just outside of Davis. I went there yesterday and most of the time we had the place to ourselves. Large, fenced, shady, *nobody there*. They do not have running water so bring your own.
Yolo County Grasslands Regional Park Dog Park and Trail
8653 Mace Blvd, Davis, CA 95618
I agree. I also wish more areas around me even allowed dogs. All the parks where I live banned them (even on leash) which really sucks because I live next to a park.
We don't have a dog park either so we have to travel for that.
I have a dog selective and human selective rescue which makes dog parks (where it’s customary in my area to ignore dogs who are totally out of control) a poor choice for us but I will admit we have a couple (small and dirty) ones nearby at least so we can go for relatively empty hours from time to time.
Same by me. I have to drive 20 minutes or so to be able to walk my dog in a park on-leash, even though I have four parks within walking distance. Aside from dog parks, I don't know of anywhere I could walk him off-leash--and as he is very stressed (but non-confrontational) by many other dogs, I am not going to ask him to do a dog park.
I do at least have a (not large, but big enough that he can run) fenced yard, so he at least gets to enjoy that at home.
We have a dog park that's outrageously big, over 6 acres I think. Yall don't have a large one like that? Nothing is 100%, especially an animal's (or person's) behavior. I'm super glad for leash laws. In the last 7 months I've seen 3 off leash (1 actually had the leash on, but no one holding it, seemed the owner was ~6ft behind it) pits in my neighborhood. Different neighbors have called animal control a few times. 2 seem well behaved, and well trained, but again, nothing is 100%.
Also, what is a "sniff spot"?
We have an off leash open space here that is 300 acres! You can avoid seeing any other dogs if preferred. We had another one that was hundreds of acres as well, but it got shut down due to people not picking up after their dogs.
Sniff Spot is an app where you can find individual spots (people's yards/property) that you can rent out. You rent it out so that you can be the only one there, or you can do a group thing with multiple dogs that you know, where you rent it together.
Holy crap. I just looked it up to confirm my statement, I was wrong, its actually 26 acres lol but 300? Lawd. That sniff spot is genius. I'd have never thought folks do that.
I live in NYC where you can let your dogs off leash before 9am and after 9pm. I think it should be adjusted to before 9am and after 9pm or sun up and sundown, whichever is later/earlier, but that's beside the point.
I love that we can do that here, but it drives me nuts the amount of irresponsible dog owners I see. There are clearly marked and fenced areas where dogs can't go, people consistently put their dogs in there, like the great lawn. I saw a woman rip the fence up to let her dog in. People chatting and not paying attention to their dogs at all, letting them shit and dig. I once had a dog almost follow me out of the park and it took a while for me to finally spot the owner. If your dog is out of eyesight, you are a irresponsible owner. If your dog is in eyesight, but you're blabbing away to your friend while your dog is taking a huge dump and you don't pick it up, you're a shit owner.
I saw a group of dog owners arguing with a park employee about getting tickets after 9 am with their dogs off leash. Fuck you. You know the rules, it takes nothing to leash your dog at 9:00 and if your dog hasn't had enough off leash time, get up earlier.
I feel you, and I see myself lucky to have two great parks nearby to let my dog off leash, but with that privilege you also need to take responsibility. Not enough people do.
We use a long line (50 ft leash) with a bungee extension, attached to a harness that clips on the back. We take our dog to an open field and let him run around to his heart's content.
We are so lucky. When we moved into our neighborhood there was a field at the end of the road with a path around it. We'd take our dog(s) out there and let them off leash. The dirt path is now part of a cross country track and has a thick layer of bark chips. We still take our dog out and let him run. His joy, just being able to flat out run and crash through tall grass after scents is so much fun to watch. We practice his recalls, just in case. It's almost frightening he's so excited he has been known to skid into us (we are not young). We always keep eyes in front of us and behind us incase someone is jogging. We clean up the path if he uses it to poop. Unfortunately it is one of the places where we've had trouble with other people letting their dogs run, and they have no recall. Our boy will be back on his leash as soon as we see anyone on the path.
Have you heard of sniffspot?
Try Sniffspot - you can “rent” a fenced plot of land for use as a private dog park. Some places you can rent an entire forest for personal use.
Most dogs are off leash here in Germany, more specifically in Berlin, and it has never been a problem. In this sub reactions to off leash dog posts are overwhelmingly negative. When I see a dog off leash on a walk in my area, I actually relax because to me the owner is showing complete trust and confidence in his dog, and if they’re off leash that must mean they’re a well socialized, well trained dog. This has 100% been the case for me and I’ve been able to use these off leash encounters as training opportunities with my reactive dog (who’s no longer reactive due to these encounters and the willingness of the owners to share advice and knowledge!!). I think the US needs to be harder on those few people who are ruining it for the rest aka actual responsible pet owners, and to not lump together ALL off leash dogs. But owning a dog has a very different meaning here than it does in the US. Nothing will change until that does.
Google “off leash training for dogs” in your area. There will be companies that come up. You can call and ask them if they can suggest some good areas for you.
It's always a handful of idiots who don't care to handle their dogs appropriately. They're the ones making the rules so restrictive.
Where do you live? Here in London, off leash is allowed nearly everywhere, barring near roads and child play areas (which will have a sign).
I’m fairly certain this is U.K. wide legislation. Have you actually checked your borough’s dog laws? It would tell you there specifically. I’ve yet to hear of a borough that’s banned off lead dogs and I live in Tower Hamlets which isn’t keen on dogs in general.
I live in the rural western part of the US and seeing all the off leash hate on here has shocked me as well. My dog hardly ever sees a leash. I live a mile from national forest access in a state that is mostly national forest/BLM land. He has never had an issue with another off leash dog and people don’t care when they see dogs off leash here either. Honestly I would not live in an area where I had to keep my dog on a leash at all times. I’ve never had any behavioral issues with him and I think this is part of the reason why.
I’ve gotten shit on this sub for being pro-off leash in the past, but I don’t care. I spent hours every single week teaching my dog a reliable recall, so I can let him off-leash responsibly. I don’t see the issue. I won’t bother your dogs, and your dogs won’t bother mine. It’s a win/win. It might be riskier than walking on a tight leash, sure, but I’m fine with that risk because of the benefit I get. I’ve never seen my dog get as excited for anything as he does off-leash time. He’s just *free*. It’s such a valuable thing for high energy dogs, and I’m lucky we have national forests and field out where I live where I can give him that responsibly. I wish there were more options around for people, though.
I work in the veterinary field and I have seen the dogs and cats that have come in DOA or so incredibly injured they require extensive ER stays and multiple surgeries.
I understand that some people have dogs that have wonderful recall skills. Most don’t and I find off leash activity to be extremely unsafe for our pets and fellow humans.
There are news stories in the US at least once a month of dogs getting loose and killing children, adults, and other animals. I think it is important to understand the dire consequences of off leash pets. There is a reason we have strict leash laws and I they are 100% necessary for public safety.
The thing that makes me the most nervous about off leash dogs is them getting into the road and being hit.
Absolutely. Everyone thinks their situation is different. Their dog is smarter, they have trained more, etc.
I have seen plenty of people sobbing because their dog was killed by another animal or hit by a car. Or worse they cant afford the lifesaving treatment their pet needs after something terrible like that happens.
>There are news stories in the US at least once a month of dogs getting loose and killing children, adults, and other animals.
These are generally untrained neglected animals (of a certain specific breed that gets threads locked by the mods if you mention them) that escape from a backyard, not pet dogs that have many hours of training to walk nicely off leash. Other countries besides the US are proof that off-leash cities work just fine.
My dog has lived her entire life off leash. Of course in certain instances like going to the vet or a store, we use one. I've gotten flack from some people over the years but for the most part my dog's behaviour speaks for itself. It helps that she's a 12 lb super cute fluffy poodle who's always smiling. My response to comments has always been "she is on a leash, my voice."
I am grateful to have a dog like her. This perfect mix of her personality and intelligence created this amazing little being.
The more they're off leash, the less they think of it as a big release of freedom. It becomes normal for them and they stop feeling that they have to run up to every single person and dog they see. I've always raised my puppies with a goal to have them eventually walking off leash in busy streets, and the key to this is have them off leash as often as possible, as young as possible. Listening to your directions becomes something that they do without thinking, instead of commands being something that signals the end of the freedom fun.
I'm always baffled by people who spend their entire lives anxious that their dogs might run out the front door and escape, and who keep it on a leash 100% of the time outside. Why keep an animal that's capable of learning to be trustworthy if you never teach it to be trustworthy?
>My response to comments has always been "she is on a leash, my voice."
Unfortunately, too many bad owners have tarnished that argument. That's why there are laws. And none "too specific enough" IME. My parents' druggie neighbors let their dog "on leash", but with its leash in its own mouth, leave *who knows what infected* crap everywhere, stress out all the normal pet dogs with responsible owners and their children.
The law says it has to be on leash. So these strung out junkies leave a lab holding its own leash outside all day and all night, terrorizing everyone, because that's the leash law.
People are rabid and unreasonable about off leash dogs, not only on this sub. Why tf should my dog have zero freedom her whole life just because some folks can’t mind their own business? She has as much of a right to enjoy her life and the world as I do, and she’s earned it with her good behavior. It’s an unpopular opinion for some reason but if I’m out on a secluded trail or nature area where it’s safe, my dog will be off leash, soaking it up, signs be damned.
The reason people care so much about leash laws is because most of us have had our dogs attacked by off-leash dogs. You and your dog have a right to enjoy life, but my dog and I have that same right and that includes being safe from your dog.
It's scary the lack of empathy others have for each other. How can we come together when so many only see what they want?
So the answer is to tell everyone on the planet to change their behavior and to stop enjoying nature freely in order to make sure you or your dog arent scared? That is 100% not my problem.
Yeah, the 5 dog owners whose dogs have attacked mine should change their behavior. They should put their damn dogs on a leash so they and I can both enjoy nature freely. If you want to take your dog off leash, go somewhere that's allowed, and my dogs won't be there to get mauled. Dickhead.
Ya you’re one of the folks I was referring to lol
> Why tf should my dog have zero freedom her whole life just because ~~some folks can’t mind their own business~~ can't control their dogs?
People that accuse other people of not "minding their own business" are the ones that you have to watch out for.
Ya exactly!! I started training my dog from day one when she was a puppy specifically so that she would be the perfect adventure/hiking buddy as an adult. She doesn’t approach anyone and doesn’t let folks pet her if they try, even. She has the right to enjoy her time outside just as much as a human does. If other dogs approach I put her on a leash until they pass. 🤷♀️
Here’s an unpopular opinion: if my dog can’t be off leash because another leashed dog is aggressive, we’re not the problem.
It drives me absolutely *bonkers* when hiking and someone has to literally drag their dog off the trail because they can’t be within six feet of another dog. Dogs with antisocial issues shouldn’t be in social situations
This times a thousand ^ if I had a medal I'd give it to you.
Thanks. Can’t believe it when people say to just take her to the dog park. Dog parks are usually disgusting, dangerous, and uninteresting, and my dog doesn’t play or have any fun at them. I can’t imagine someone would agree if they were told they could only go to a patch of dirt full of other obnoxious people the rest of their lives 🙄 I will die on this hill.
I fully agree. You won't die alone on that hill lol
I live rural tons of farmland many people call their dogs back to them and give you space our lake is dog offleash friendly.
my last dog never ignored a recall in the 6 years I had her sure dogs are still animals but that's like amputating your leg in case you get bone cancer.
If your dog responds to recall I have zero issue with offleash dogs even wave at owners to show how happy I am they trained them. Worse case scenario I beat box the crap out of the unfriendly on coming dog have before but that was one or 2 out of a ton of awesome dogs.
I have a catahoula and I worked very hard to train her to ignore people/animals on trails, and to recall immediately. She needs at least an hour of running a day to stay healthy/happy and she isn’t super social so dog parks aren’t an option. She is happiest on trails with water for her to run through. I’m seriously aghast with the on-leash-only mentality of this sub and generally any thread where it’s discussed. Humans are honestly more annoying in nature areas than dogs most of the time lol
Literally today I was trying to enjoy a hike with my dog in an area where off leash dogs are permitted. My dog is a new rescue so he is on a leash. I saw a couple with an unleashed dog coming so I pulled off the trail, the dog comes running up toward us snarling and growling with all teeth exposed. I had to yell at the owners to get their dog because of course it didn’t recall and they responded that it was an “off leash area”. What the actual fuck?! Anyway these people ruin it for everyone. Also I just want to point out that it only takes one dog attack to make a dog fearful or reactive. The risk is just so high and people are so irresponsible that it makes us really sensitive.
Just bc your dog is afraid doesn’t mean everyone else on the planet is responsible for protecting his/her feelings. We’re going to keep doing our thing and mind our own business.
Yes I am aware of that, but every bad encounter with a dog that should NOT be allowed off leash makes his fear worse. It’s other peoples responsibility to keep their dog at a safe distance from mine when their dog is clearly aggressive.
Yup, if my dog was aggressive or unsafe she wouldn’t be off leash. Unfortunately a lot of folks don’t care about their dog’s behavior but that isn’t our problem.
I fix that problem by kicking their dog til it runs away sorry if they can't responsibly control your dog I will protect mine.
But yeah it's absolutely not going to stop be from taking mine out offleash I'll call mine over to me and change direction for others comfort but I didn't teach them 30+ commands for nothing
I only had one dog that wasn't recall trained perfect she stayed leashed.
My other 2 never and I seriously mean never ran up to strange anything without my order people, dogs, cats, wild life or livestock
While it would be fantastic for dog owners to have off leash hiking trails or massive dog parks close by, that space becomes unusable for all non-dog owners, which unfortunately are more than those who own dogs. Any park or trail that attempts to appeal to both will get complaints from non-owners about all the unleashed dogs. While I'm sure your friend is well trained, most aren't and people would avoid any such spaces because of random dogs running up to them. It's just a fact that a very large portion of people don't like dogs, so it makes little sense to dedicate so much space for owners. Your best option for frequent, long off leash walking and hiking would be to live in a rural area.
>While it would be fantastic for dog owners to have off leash hiking trails or massive dog parks close by, that space becomes unusable for all non-dog owner
No it doesn't. Other countries such as mine have off-leash areas everywhere that overlap with sports, jogging, and picnic areas and everyone gets along fine. When every space is shared, the culture changes so that anyone with an uncontrolled dog is heavily shamed into training it properly or situationally keeping it on a leash. In certain parts of my city people are almost competitive about how well-trained their dogs can appear in public, walking in the busy city streets off leash. Technically the law is that all dogs have to be leashed in the city but for decades the police have willingly turned a blind eye if your dog is under effective control, and they'll totally ignore off leash dogs that behave like humans.
The cultural understanding is that almost everywhere is an off-leash area, but not every dog is an off-leash dog. If you let your dog run around annoying people, you'll quickly be approached by at least 1 person yelling at you to put it on a leash and stop being a dickhead.
An off-leash dog area isn’t unusable for non-dog owners. There’s a good trail here in LA that’s off-leash, but is quite busy with people without dogs. I get this would be the minority of parks.
This is the real reason I don’t think anything will change where I live. This is mostly a ‘I’m feeling bummed other people aren’t all upstanding dog owners and this is why we can’t have nice things’ rant post.
We have a HUGE off leash open space within 20 minutes of where I live. It is over 300 acres, but it is desert-like with cacti and rattlesnakes. Good in the winter, but dangerous with no shade in the summer. There used to be another one the same size, but in the mountains instead, really nice and shady with rivers and streams. That one got closed down because of lazy owners not picking up after their dogs. They gave warning after warning and eventually shut it down. I definitely know the feeling of being upset that other owners suck and that's why we can't have nice things 😔
Ugh I feel this. I have an elderly reactive dog who’s only love in life is being free and sniffing shit. I go to the end of trails and let her off late at night to let her be free, though. It’s a hassle but she’s my old lady. I have another dog who is WAY too friendly (and young) to be off leash lol, but she, too loves it
Animals can never, ever... be completely controlled 100% of the time and anyone who thinks this, is part of the problem.
The same is true for children.
I think if perfection is the standard - not reliable but perfect- then we can’t ever expect a dog to leave the house. A leash doesn’t solve half of the problems people seem to think it does without training and behavior management to go with it. I think if people saw more responsible dog owners with under control off leash dogs it would be easier to recognize that it is possible to make big negative events rare enough to be acceptable (in the same way car accidents are an acceptable risk).
>Animals can never, ever... be completely controlled 100% of the time and anyone who thinks this, is part of the problem.
Meh. A small part, maybe. If you look at the population of owners who let their dogs hassle others, for example, I'd wager most of them simply don't think their dogs' behavior is problematic in the first place.
And just in general, this seems straw-man-ish. I'd argue that there is such a thing as "good enough" control. Think fluid, varying on the basis of dog, context, etc.
Why is this comment getting downvoted? Is it too hard for Reddit to not think in black and white, and instead to do what they told you and think about the context..?
I get it: we judge a lot of dogs in general because unfortunately too many don’t control their dogs. But again, the same is true for children. But for some reason, we still let ppl bring their toddler with them to the cinema. Or, to use the USA as an example, let people buy guns way too easily.
IMO, if we’d establish a basic education regarding dogs (or animals) as a mandatory topic for everyone (not just dog owners), this would solve a lot of problems.
Neither can humans, but we don't keep you in leash.
We do tend to lock up people who can't be trusted in public in cages, hoewver.
They literally make toddler backpack leashes? It helps especially for tall parents when their little baby’s hands are so far down.
As someone who has had their throat and face bitten by an off-leash dog I disagree. As soon as I see a dog off leash it brings on a panic attack, it doesn't matter how well behaved that dog is
Controversial opinion but it is not my responsibility to manage your trauma. It is my job to manage my dog to ensure it never happens to you again while under my control. I’m advocating for places where off leash responsibility is accepted and expected - you could always avoid those places if it triggered you - and wouldn’t that be better than the system we have in my area where there are places where the custom and the rules don’t match and you might run into an off leash dog unexpectedly.
>you could always avoid those places if it triggered you - and wouldn’t that be better than the system we have in my area where there are places where the custom and the rules don’t match and you might run into an off leash dog unexpectedly.
This is the answer. I get tired of people saying that because they were traumatised by a dog, no dog should ever be allowed off its lead.
My argument is, deal with your own issues and accept that you need to avoid going to places that are likely to have dogs off their leads. You can't just swan through life thinking everything will be bent into the shape you want it to be.
Will that limit you if you want to take a walk in the countryside? I guess, but that still doesn't mean you can shift the problem onto dog owners.
Maybe there's a bigger issue in the US with people not training their dogs. In the UK, I have very, very rarely encountered an out of control dog, and I have never been confronted with an aggressive dog that was off its lead. I have seen people walking their dogs on leads, who warn me that their dog is aggressive so I should keep my dog away. That's fine, that's what ownership is about - taking responsibility for your own dog and its behaviour.
Yes, it most definitely is a big issue in the United States. Most dog owners can tell you about at least one experience (and many have had multiple experiences) where their dogs have been put into negative situations due to someone else's dog being unleashed and not under voice control.
> it is not my responsibility to manage your trauma.
Say it again for the people in the back row!
So here's a question: If, hypothetically, you had been bitten by an *on-leash* dog, would you propose that dogs simply be banned in your community?
That's ridiculous of course not. I don't hate dogs I have been around them my entire life.A leashed dog is under physical control of the owner. The dog that attacked me was free and the owner did jack shit to help me, other people came to my rescue to free me from it's jaws before it was able to tear me up.
It would not be a ridiculous question in my area, where the majority of bite incidents do in fact involve leashed dogs.
Use common sense. If it's a huge grassy area with nobody around, I let my dog off leashed whether there's a sign or not.
Move to the UK, dogs are allowed off lead pretty much anywhere (obviously with exceptions but there are valid reasons for those).
I live in London and there are a good few people in my area that walk the streets with their dogs off-lead. I have never not seen them have full control of their dogs.
I wish it was like that here. My dogs and I have been attacked multiple times by off leash dogs. A few nights ago a woman’s Rottweiler dragged her to the ground and into the street because he saw my dog. The same dog also ran up, unleashed a few weeks ago and tried to attack, and my friend screamed at it and scared it so bad that it fled. I even had to help a bulldog awhile ago because he was off leash and ran across four lanes of traffic. He was aggressive and tried to bite, but I managed to grab his collar to keep him from running back into the cars. His owner came up, said thanks, and didn’t leash his dog. Unsurprisingly, the dog ran into traffic again, seconds after the owner walked away with him.
I think off leash walking is important for dogs. I take mine to the the forest so he can run around. The problem is, people are way overconfident in their dog’s recall and always think their dog isn’t aggressive, even when they display obvious aggressive behavior. I’m curious if it has something to do with lack of knowledge about dogs in the US, or something else we’re not accounting for. It’s frustrating, because their lack of training means most of the places I take my dog, require leashes because of previous incidents. I just want my little dude to gallop around and have a good time. It’s very irritating.
That's so awful, I'm so sorry you had to go through that
There are about a million reasons I would love to move to the UK. I’ll go ahead and add this to the list.
This. I always have my dog on his lead anywhere there might be traffic, but otherwise we're in places where he can run free and burn off all that crazy spaniel energy.
He has no chase drive, he's not that interested in other dogs, and his recall is very reliable. That's not the case for all dogs, but it is for mine. I can't imagine how we'd deal with him having to be on a lead all the time. He'd need about four hours of walking a day if he couldn't run, swim and catch tennis balls.
All the places we go, dogs are either well socialised and behaved or they're on leads and the owners will make it clear that they're nervous or aggressive or whatever. Common courtesy and common sense.
I’d rather keep off leash dogs in dog parks, unfortunately. The problem is with the folks who think their dog is fully recall trained, when it so isn’t. My dogs are not crazy about other dogs, so they are always leashed and fully under my control when we are out ( they’re little). If a park suddenly becomes off-leash, that means I can no longer comfortably go there with my guys. The people that have strong recall training and watch their dog are fine. Alas, though, I’ve spent too many stressful moments trying to keep away an unleashed dog that comes prancing right up to us, while the owner either finds they have no control to stop them, or is so far back on the trail I can’t even see them. Or both!
Do you have any Sniffspots in your area?
Edit: Wow I've never got a platinum award before that's cool thanks!
There’s a new thing called Sniff Spot where you can rent a backyard from someone that is fenced in and private for your dog to run in. I saw it on the news yesterday. It’s relatively affordable too average is $10 per hour . Totally worth it IMO to have a secure, clean, fenced area where a dog can run without fear of being attacked, ran over, ticketed, etc. If I didn’t already own my home with a backyard I would use it.
This is why every vacation I take is honestly for my pups. I looooove hiking. Dirt path through the woods mountains etc. them free as a bird. I love it so much. When we go on vacation off leash hiking spots are the first priority
Every person's back yard is a legal off-leash area. Make friends with some neighbors!
Eh once your a mile off the road into the mountains all the Karen’s disappear
Truth! We let our dogs (who are not perfectly trained, but pretty well) run free once a year when we go to our lakehouse in rural Maine where literally nobody gives a fuck about an off-leash dog (except maybe the wildlife lol).
I have 90 acres of land for my pup to run on off leash and it’s fantastic. It wears her out, allows her to run without the fear of other random dogs maybe attacking her, etc. I’m very lucky to have that, but more places should definitely have areas for dogs to legally run off leash.
My dog's reward for being well behaved, having strong recall, and being well trained is that they get a lot of off leash freedom in gray areas. They have never once disobeyed and taken off after a trigger.
I think maybe two times in the last decade has someone demanded I follow the strict leash rule at parks, the beach, trails, or whatever.
Pretty much the only time they get leashed is around traffic or crowds. Dogs need to be off leash, for their mental health imo. Constantly being tethered to someone is not ideal.
This is one of the things I am most jealous of Europeans for, next to single-payer healthcare.
Get yourself one of these retractable leashes.
It really is too bad.
I go to an off leash dog park area that is also unfenced, and it seems to kind of self-select, as in the park is almost exclusively dogs with reliable recall. It’s an extremely fun place for my dog, and a great opportunity to proof recall with exciting distractions around. Nothing compares to solo hikes out in the middle of nowhere with her, though :)
I totally agree. Right now, I wait for the brewery to close and all to leave. Their parking lot is fenced on all side but one and on the one side, there is a gate to close it. The gate is never locked. If I happen to be up late enough, I'll take my dogs and let the loose back there. Issues are, they have some junk in the corner so I watch to make sure my dog doesn't go over there. Last time my dog got all sticky from something. Secondly, I never really got permission to do it. I just do.
we'd need off leash training first, but I dream of a wide open space to play with the chuck-it without a ton of other dogs chasing after the ball too!
Don’t know where you’re located, but check out Sniff Spot
It's the same around me but I found a few places where I'm typically the only one there and also has a good vantage point so I can see if anybody is coming well before they reach us. Once in a while, I'll let him off leash a bit in these places. He really does love it.
This is when it’s an advantage to be a night owl (and not scared of being out at night). My old dog was reactive with other dogs, but very trustworthy about walking off leash with me… so I just took him to parks at night, when it was less/un likely to encounter anyone else.
My new guy, a rescued husky, absolutely LOVES other dogs but can’t be trusted off-leash. At least not yet. So he’s basically the opposite of my old guy lol. I take him to dog parks instead, as they’re secured and full of his buddies. So I guess it depends on your dog. And location.
The only dog park within 30 minutes of me is a small dirt rectangle sectioned off by a short fence.
Both of my dogs could jump the fence, and the area isn't big enough to throw a ball full distance by hand.
So I and pretty much every other dog owner in the area have resorted to playing fetch while off leash at the enormous grassy fields at the public parks that are scattered literally everywhere and serve no other purpose.
My dogs are off leash 99% of the time we are out. I've been given at least 5 warnings from police that dogs are supposed to be on leash, and I'm willing to pay any ticket I might get in the future by continuing off leash time for my two well-behaved, high energy dogs.
My dog and I have been in 18 countries and in all of them he was rarely leashed. He is only leashed in busy areas. It was never a problem to me, he always stays close and I don't let him go to other dogs unless the owner is okay with it. I couldn't imagine keeping him tied all the time!
I could very well see the differences in each countries though. In some, people are responsible and the dogs well behaved, in others not so much.
Living in the Bay Area, we have TONS of off leash open space territory and parks and state parks that allow off leash dogs (under voice control).
I think it helps a lot with socializing dogs because I only met a small handful of dogs that aren’t dog friendly and then they usually stay in leash only areas.
I have never experienced any of these horror stories people describe on here with off leash unfriendly dogs.
Completely agreed. I live in Reykjavik, a city notorious for strict leash laws. There are two big areas inside the city limits that allow dogs to be off leash but theyre both quite honestly gross and nothing but flat, muddy and uninteresting stretches of bogland, and it regularly happens that dog diseases such as parvo start up there. I dont have a car so i cant take my dogs outside the city, and they both adore offleash time. I tend to just take them out and let them off leash in the parks late in the evenings when the people most likely to complain (old people and people with little kids) arent wandering around anymore.
I’m in Jupiter, FL and we have a 2 mile off leash dog beach. The town has no tolerance for bad behavior, litter, etc., and there are trash pick up initiatives and bucket stations to help keep the beaches clean. Nobody wants this to be taken away so there is a big community effort that supports the dogs having an off leash, unguarded beach. My dog was trained there and he is also good for the week when he gets his fun time in. It’s so hard to go anywhere else because I’ve yet to find another area like it. They need to have more options.
We just hit the less popular dog park during less common hours when no one is there. We leave if/when people show up.