Unless specifically stated, any expert comments quoted in this news piece have been taken directly from the Instagram post cited below.
Daily walks are essential for your dog's health and wellbeing, and they're also a great way to strengthen the bond the two of you share by spending quality time together.
But unless you're a master at coming up with exciting and effective ways to get your dog to come back to you on off leash walks, it's well worth seriously considering keeping them on leash when you're out and about
Expert trainer Carolyn, the founder of Good Dog Training, has put together a handy Instagram post outlining why keeping our dogs leashed on walks is so important.
And there are definitely a few surprises in there!
Keep reading to find out more...
A photo posted by on
1. It's the law: "Many cities and/or countries have leash laws requiring that dogs be on leash in public places," says Carolyn.
2. To keep your dog safe: "Off-leash dogs are far more likely to be hit and injured by a vehicle or bicycle," Carolyn explains. "Off leash dogs are also more likely to be attacked and injured by other animals and are also far more likely to end up lost."
3. Not leashing your dog puts others at risk: "Off leash dogs are more likely to injure people, intentionally or not. An unleashed dog can easily cause a bike accident, a car accident, or cause a person to be injured by jumping on them, tripping them, or running into them.
"Unleashed dogs are also a huge nuisance and risk to other wildlife and pets," Carolyn says.
4. It can cause issues for service dogs: "I've personally witnessed a blind man being harassed and scared by an unleashed dog," Carolyn shares. "There are countless stories of service dogs being injured or distracted by unleashed dogs.
"I've seen elderly/disabled people, as well as small kids, knocked over by unleashed dogs who barrel over and jump up."
5. Your dog isn't as well trained as you may think they are: Carolyn explains that a lot of people think that because their dog is well trained they won't bother people. An assumption that's incorrect.
"Dogs do bother people," she says. "Everyone driving by has to slow down and worry about your dog because you aren't. Everyone walking by has to worry and move away or leave the area. I promise that people have turned the other direction to avoid you and your unleashed dog."
Carolyn adds that if our dogs are really as well trained as we think they are, then having them on a leash shouldn't be a problem.
And in terms of giving them their freedom and that all-important sniff time, Carolyn recommends taking them to a dog park, using your fenced yard, using a very long leash in a quiet and open area, or driving somewhere without leash laws and letting your dog off leash in a quiet area provided they have stellar recall skills.
Loose leash walking takes time, patience and consistency to master. If you find your pup is struggling in this area, we recommend reaching out to a professional trainer for support.
Check out our guide to how to spot dog trainer red flags to ensure you're working with a trainer who's suitably qualified and uses positive training methods.
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Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.