I'm of the opinion that walking dogs off lead should be confined to very select areas and also at very select times, but I've heard from some (uk) owners stating it's their given right to walk their dogs off lead most of the time, in most places and insult those who dont by saying they are 'heartless to their dogs feelings and needs'
What's the overal view on walking off lead?
***Edited By: Laurie on 3/30/2005 3:16:23 AM*** Reason: typo
I tend to seek out remote areas, like hydro fields, the park really early in the morning, before anyone is up.I let them off but do continually search for wild and domestic animals. Cause both of them love little critters. One time my male spotted a skunk, run to it, stopped, the skunk never moved, Ozzy turned looked at me, and the skunk just ran at him and head bunted him.Ozzy didn't know what he was supposed to do with it. The skunk eventually turned and walked away.Didn't even spary him.
I believe it also depends upon the dog. My Yellow Lab, Blondie, will walk by my side and not run off. Usually I will take her Frisbee with, as she is a frisbee nut. She maintains constant eye contact, just waiting for me to stop and throw the frisbee. You could walk by with a juicy steak and she would not pay you the least attention.
However, this is just one dog, I am not speaking for everyone's dog, or even all of our dogs. My brother was living alone and he adopted Blondie from me, but still, when I go up there to see them, she will stick right by me, not run off into traffic or the woods to chase bunnies. She has that very strong retrieving instinct, moreso than any of my other Labs did and will not leave my side, unless she is retrieving.
Unless you're in a designated off-leash area, your dog should always be on leash in public. If I take my dog to an off-leash area, I do so knowing that my dog can handle the situation, the dogs and people that it encounters. If I'm at the park or on a trail where there is a leash law, I expect other owners to abide by those laws. I take young dogs to the park for socialization, I take dogs with behavior issues to the park to work on their issues, I take competitive obedience dogs to the park to work on their training. Lately, it seems, I can't go to the park without encoutering off-leash dogs. They come running up to me and my dog, interrupting our training or scaring my young puppies. Usually the owner shouts from a distance, "It's OK! He's friendly!" but the owner has no control over their dog and I'm left to handle the situation between the two dogs. Please keep dogs on-leash in on-leash areas, for the safety of your own dog and as courtesy to the other dog owners that you encounter.
I agree that dogs are safer on a leash. Unless you're in a remote area where no other dogs or traffic around. Even the best trained dog can act of of character once in a while. For example...my uncle used to walk his black lab every day. They live in a very quiet neigborhood and generally Eve stayed right by his side. She was very well trained and usually very predictable. They had been doing this together for several years. One day though, for whatever reason she acted out of character and got hit by a car. It was so sad. They tried everything they could to save her, but had to put her to sleep in the end.