walking dogs without a leash

this is one of my hot-button issues. i have a physiological reaction when i see someone walking their dog without a leash. i should probably say right up front that i live in a major city, so i am not really talking about people who might walk with their leashless dogs out in the flowering meadow somewhere, but rather people who take their dogs out on city streets, full of traffic and other dogs and who knows what.

perhaps my understanding of this behavior is completely skewed (and i suppose i will hear about it in the comments if it is!), but i just. don’t. get it.

it always seems to me that the reason someone would do this is just to show off how well-behaved their dog is. that’s my read, although maybe some dogs and/or some guardians just don’t like leashes, and this is the easy way out of that dilemma. in any case, it just seems like such an unsafe way to walk with your dog. i’m sure your dog is super-smart and great and wonderful and blah-de-blah, but why the braggart-y leashlessness?

dogs, like anyone, can get distracted. they can see or hear something (sometimes something even we can’t see or hear) and decide they want to check it out. your dog can be the sweetest, most mellow, eager-to-please pup, and that still doesn’t mean she won’t get distracted and go tearing off after a squirrel or a skateboard or a leaf–just this once.

some people are terrified of dogs, and a leashless dog is about their biggest nightmare. i’m not one of those people, but i’m just saying.

other dogs are not always nice, even if your dog rocks. leashing your dog is a good way to keep her safe, because you have her easily under control if she gets into trouble.

it just seems to me that it’s safest to keep dogs on leashes when they’re out. for one thing, i am pretty sure it’s the law (i know it is around here), but even more importantly, leashing your dogs can keep them out of harm’s way. there are so many crazy scenarios that end in the dog (or someone else) possibly getting seriously hurt, and most of those crazy scenarios can be prevented with a leash.

please, people around town, i beg of you: stop showing off how well-behaved your dog is, and start showing off how much you love her.



  1. excellent points.
    I think letting a dog go off-lead in the conditions you describe is dangerous for the dog. If the dog is well-trained, using a lead is basically not much more of a pain than *not* using one. There’s nothing to be gained by letting the dog off-lead in such busy conditions.

  2. Jennifer, i’m so sorry to hear about your dog. that had to be completely heartbreaking. hugs!!
    i was actually afraid that this might be a controversial entry. maybe one day i’ll be brave enough to post my thoughts on “outside cats.”

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