Off-leash dog walking has become a popular discussion topic for many dog owners, especially with the rise of holistic pet parenting and the welfare of animals increases. As good as it sounds, unfortunately, it’s not that easy to achieve, and it doesn’t come without its own risks. Your pooch will need training and extra attention if you want to achieve that goal. How quickly your canine adapts to successfully walking off-leash heavily depends on your dog’s characteristics and nature.
Before you decide to let your dog off the leash, consider the pros and cons below and, see if going off-leash is a good idea for your furry best friend.
PRO – It gives your dog the freedom to run, play and explore!
Of course, letting your dog roam off-leash allows them to go on adventures and explore new places. While you can still do this with your dog on-leash (to an extent), they will be less able to find interesting places in tight spaces. Letting your dog run free, means they have the chance to decide where they want to go, which improves their sense of smell, and mental experience.
Giving them the freedom to move will also allow them to get more exercise. Sometimes being in the backyard or in the house all day can be restrictive, but letting them run means they can get rid of all that stored up energy.
CON – Your dog could hurt themselves and/or others
Letting your dog run off-leash means that you don’t have full control – which can be dangerous in certain circumstances. How does your pup react when they’re in crowds of people? What about when cars or motorbikes drive by? Can they control themselves in the presence of other people or animals? Canines are instinctive and impulsive creatures, meaning that if something arouses or frightens them, they can react in a seemingly dangerous way. When dogs are scared or threatened, they can bite or bark. This behavior can be hard to predict, especially if your dog is normally pretty well-natured.
PRO – It can be good for social interaction (with dogs that aren’t reactive or aggressive)
Research has shown that off-leash dogs don’t represent as significant a threat compared to dogs that stay on the lead. Leashes interfere with normal dog social interaction and can create a series of issues. If a dog is excited to see another dog while on lead, they may pull or jump. However, this excitability can turn into frustration very quickly if they aren’t able to run freely.
According to one research by Max Sparwasser, 80 percent of dog bites happen at home, and more than half occur in the dog owner’s property. Another statistic reported that chained dogs inflicted 25% of fatal dog attacks.
The best solution is having your dog trained for it
So, what’s the best option when facing this dilemma of on-leash walking vs off-leash walking? The answer is always to have your dog well-trained. You need to be a responsible dog owner, which means you need to be sure that your canine companion has good behavior and socialization training in-check before you give them the full freedom to be off-leash.
It’s also wise to check your state and local laws when it comes to letting your dog off-leash.
If you’re a new dog owner and want your canine companion to be able to walk off-lead? Perhaps enroll them in a dog obedience class so you can feel extra confident that they’ll listen to you at all times.