7 Reasons to Keep Your Dog On a Leash


A worrisome trend is to walk dogs off-leash, even in crowded urban areas. Not sure why – but there are leash laws for a reason.

Here are seven reasons to keep dogs on a leash:

  1. Safety First: It’s true, dogs can learn to navigate traffic. Even Guide Dogs, who know when to cross streets safely, are on a leash and harness. They are not off leash. And that’s not to mention intensive training. You may think your dog won’t run into the street, but all it takes is one time, perhaps motivated by a squirrel.
  2. Dog vs. Dog: If your dog is the most dog friendly dog on the next dog walking by may not be, and if the handler isn’t paying attention or has little control (perhaps due to a retractable leash), your innocent dog, even off-leash, may not be able to get away. And since the dog is off-leash, you may not be right there to at least attempt to intercept. And being off leash, your dog may bolt when threatened.
  3. Dog vs Human: Some people are afraid of dogs as it is.  Now, I admit it – I roll my eyes when I am walking a dog on a leash, a person crosses to the other side of the street (often based on presumed breed or size of the dog). When I am walking our 9-lb therapy dog and someone crosses to the other side of the street, I just think, “really?” But then when a dog is off-leash and a person is fearful, I better understand their point of view. They don’t know the dog off-leash. And people who are fearful are more often to elicit a response even in a well-trained and well-socialized dog. A simple bark may (unduly) terrify a person fearful of dogs.
  4. Running in Parks: Dog parks and dog beaches are one separate issue, and hopefully a fence keeps dogs inside the perimeter since they are off-leash. However, letting dogs off leash in parks that are not designated for dog can cause problems. Dogs may keep running the other way, and get lost, and those darn squirrels or a bunny rabbit may be there follow. Dogs can run up to people fearful of dogs, or even a happy dog to see a child may knock over a little person, and now you have a potential lawsuit to deal with.
  5. Rural Areas: Certainly, there are still some places in America that are so secluded, off leash is no issue. Having said that, dogs run a whole lot faster than people. And if the dog runs the wrong way, your dog could get lost.
  6. Snack Time: With you not right there to prevent or to notice, a dog can snack on anything from rat poison to a discarded chicken wing. Without supervision, dogs are more likely to allow curiosity to take over, and what is snacked on may be a problem.
  7. It’s the Law: True, you may not need to serve jail time, but you may be fined.

(In the cover image, this dog meandering with her person down a busy street in Chicago. Who does this dog belong to? Hard to even tell from the photo. The dog really didn’t stop at the street and then luckily the light soon changed.)