Every dog owner wants to think that their dog is the most well-behaved dog around and would love to leave them off leash whenever possible. There is nothing better than a happy dog playing and running next to you as you head to the park or up a trail for a run, but this isn’t always possible. There are a lot of considerations to take before you unclip to keep yourself and your dog out of unnecessary trouble.
Follow the Rules!
Every city has different leash laws and ordinances, so it is essential to know what those are exactly. Otherwise, you run the risk of significant monetary fines! Typically, these laws are in place to make sure you keep your pet under control, which should be something you are capable of doing no matter if you are allowed to unclip or not. What it comes down to is making sure that your dog is well trained.
As stated above, leash laws are typically put in place to make sure owners keep their dogs under control, but they also are meant to keep everyone safe. Assuming that there is not a leash law in place where you are, there are some places where is more important than others to remain leash in hand.
First of all, you should never let your dog off the leash if you are near a road. Even if it is a low-traffic road, all it takes is one car and one little distraction, and you have an accident on your hands. It’s not safe for your dog, and it’s not safe for drivers.
Second, when in an open space, like a forested trail or on the beach, it can be more acceptable to go off-leash. But before you unclip, make sure that you know the rules. Your dog may be incredibly friendly, but even the best dogs can have a bad moment. According to Brauns Law, if your dog attacks someone while off-leash in an area where they are supposed to be leashed, you are liable, even if the other person antagonized your dog. Don’t put yourself in a sticky situation. Just keep the leash on if you don’t know.
The most significant factor when it comes to deciding to leash your dog or not is how well-trained your dog is. If your dog does not respond appropriately when called, runs off when distracted, or doesn’t play well with others, you should not let them off the leash unless you are in your backyard. Take some time to train where there are no distractions to get the basics down and then you can consider unclipping them.
To wrap it all up, off-leash adventures are great. Just make sure to play it smart and don’t take any unnecessary risks, because spending time with you will make your dog’s day either way!