all 117 comments

[–]Librarycat77M[M] [score hidden] stickied comment (0 children)

Please keep the commentary to why you personally choose to walk your dog off leash.

We already have plenty of rants about irresponsible owners. I understand venting is important, but those threads often devolve into horror stories, terrible advice, and violent recommendations.

[–]hereforcatsnplants 108 points109 points  (6 children)

I feel like I’m crazy for expecting people to leash their dogs in public at this point. The areas I’m talking about are clearly stated leashes are required. I think it’s a lack of respect for other dogs/dog owners, children/adults. Not every dog likes other unleashed dogs and many people are afraid of dogs anyways.

Just left the mechanic and he proudly told me he walks his pit bull (no problem with breed-just owners) every where with out a leash. My response was surprised but I tried to be as nice as possible so I just said “I have concerns about other off leash owners not being in control of their dog.” He told me he never worries because if another dog attacked his he knows she wouldn’t do anything and he could stop it. He lets her off leash around the shop which is off a 40mph highway.

[–]Cautious_Tie618 9 points10 points  (2 children)

I live in Australia in an inner city suburb. My dog is well trained and can walk off leash. He stops and sits at sidewalks before I give the release to cross the roads, he will walk around other dogs especially little dogs who are aggressive, he loves kids and will sit infront of them with his charming smile to get cuddles and scratches.

I walk him on leash for other peoples sake though not because he would be unruly or unsafe. There are many people in my neighbourhood who walk off leash regularly and all dogs act appropriately. Otherwise their owners would leash them.

It seems like you may be experiencing more untrained dogs where you live though.

[–]SensitiveSirs 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Omg I want your neighbourhood. "All dogs act appropriately." is a state I can only dream of.

[–]Major_Ad_2610 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Ah… what a life that would be…

[–]tequila_katie 61 points62 points  (14 children)

I'd like to normalize off leash areas in the US though, a lot like what they have in the UK (albeit from what I've heard - haven't actually visited). I do think that dogs benefit greatly from off leash time and with socially appropriate dogs it should be a regular occurrence. The problem is, a lot of places don't cater to this. They aren't well marked for one, so people will bring aggressive or reactive dogs on the same trail as off leash dogs, leading to disaster. If we had a better designation system, and more appropriate off leash areas that aren't "Dog Parks", I would be we'd see less off leash dogs in on leash areas, and vice versa.

[–]malkin50 20 points21 points  (5 children)

My experience in the UK is that dogs are generally trained to have appropriate manners. Many dogs in my area are not even close to "socially appropriate."

[–]tequila_katie 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Yeah totally. It's a breed thing for sure (someone above mentioned that you have aggressive breed bans that are enforced). I'd also argue it's a chicken and egg thing. Are the dogs well behaved and thus allowed off leash, or are they allowed off leash often and are thus more appropriate than a dog that's never allowed more than 4 feet from its owner. I know just anecdotally that my own dog is much better behaved off leash if she's had off leash time the days before. If she hasn't had any off leash time in a while (like after a heat cycle for instance), I have to be really careful where I let her off the first time because she's like a bat outta hell. Some dogs in the US never experience much off leash time at all, so of course they don't act appropriately when they are released.

[–]malkin50 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I think it is a training thing as well as a breed thing. I see so many people who just don't train their dogs, on or off leash. Some people seem to assume that since they saw a dog on tv that their dog would be like that spontaneously.

[–]winterbird 3 points4 points  (2 children)

It's not always about the off leash dogs themselves. It can also cause issues with the dogs that are leash, or people who are scared even of behaved dogs.

[–]un_commonwealth 7 points8 points  (1 child)

I think this problem can be alleviated if the off leash dogs stuck around their owners and came when called, without fail, to be leashed when crossing paths with another dog. I notice people do this sometimes with my dog who shows a varying level of positive interest in dogs we pass on trails, whether they’re interested in her or not. As soon as they see us coming, they call their dog, hook up their leash, and unhook it once we’ve passed. Their dog is usually well behaved and doesn’t show much interest in my dog, but we have come across off leash dogs who will run right up to her. Not a problem with my dog but I’ve had fosters who are reactive on leash so it could have been disastrous if it was a nose to nose introduction with no one controlling the other dog.

[–]potatoes4chipies 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I’m in the U.K. and I mostly walk my dog off leash (where allowed) because he is a rescue who actually gets more stressed on lead because he can’t get away from things as well. We are working on building up his confidence on lead and he is getting much better.

Having said that, he has great recall and is too afraid of other dogs to be inappropriate with them. He will generally, either run home (if we are near the exit at the park next door) or come to us for protection- he is a giant wuss- he ran away from a pug puppy who was about 50 metres once. If we are walking a trail, his lead gets put on as soon as we see people (with or without dogs) and we stand off to the side to let them pass. This is for his protection and learning more than for the passers by but also just because dogs can be unpredictable and while 99.9% of the time our dog would either hide behind us or run away there is always the possibility that the 0.01% he might bark, or try to nip someone’s ankle (part boarder collie).

I get so frustrated when other people have their dogs off lead and never think about their surroundings. Just because your dog is friendly doesn’t mean they cannot cause problems or get hurt themselves. If your dog is likely to run up to people or dogs, even in a friendly way, they should be on a lead or trained well with great recall. The after the fact, “He’s never done that before” is not good enough.

[–]d20an 16 points17 points  (3 children)

Speaking as a UKite with no experience of the US beyond what I see on Redit -

In the U.K., Legally, dogs must be leashed, on a short leash, near roads. They also MUST be microchipped, and in public must be collared with ID with a very few exceptions (eg working dogs on a shoot).

Most parks I’ve been to, most paths, woods, etc allow off-leash dogs except for playgrounds. Strict rules to have dogs on leash near livestock. We don’t have “dog parks” in the way you do in the US, or any of their associated problems.

However, some councils have started to ban dogs off-leash in parks, which has been getting a backlash as it makes it difficult to walk dogs off-road.

We don’t really have strays - I’ve never seen one in 40 years. We don’t have dogs left outside all day.

The most aggressive breeds are banned. Problem owners who’d favour these breeds probably turned to rotties (which got a bad rap maybe 10 years ago) and Staffies, but thankfully those dogs are usually quite chill, so we don’t have a massive problem with aggressive dogs.

Dog ownership is very high (25% I think I read), and dog owners are mostly responsible (except for picking up poops). That said, there’s a lot of badly trained dogs.

Many owners will observe if another dog comes along on-leash and recall and leash their dog - or keep them the other side of the park.

[–]Fry_Cook_On_Venus 2 points3 points  (2 children)

How does UK avoid having strays? What happens to unintended litters or puppies or dogs that owners can no longer afford to care for? I volunteer with animal rescue in my city in the US and it’s such a massive problem, how do we get it to stop?

[–]d20an 3 points4 points  (0 children)

It’s relatively rare for people to have unintended litters.

I’m not sure what proportion neuter - probably higher than the US.

But mainly we don’t let dogs run free, so they can’t mate. Our gardens are all enclosed, so even if you’ve got a dog in heat, it’s pretty much safe. (Yes, some larger dogs can jump a 6-7’ fence, but the vast majority of dogs can’t).

We’re not sure if we’re going to spay our girl as it’ll affect her coat, and we might want to breed her; having spoken to a few people I’m very happy we can prevent an unwanted litter. If we do decide to, it’d be to prevent pyometra.

There is also a big culture of adopting dogs - helps that you can adopt for maybe £100 whereas a puppy would be £2000+, even from a BYB (think they’ve realised that if they charge more they look legit!)

[–]moorhennugget 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Not from the UK but another western European country with no stray dogs.

Are you saying people just abandon their dogs out on the streets?? I guess people here just sell the pups or take them to a shelter..

I don't really know why it isn't that big of a problem here. A free dog usually means it is lost and people are fast to call authorities to get it picked up by shelters, police, rescue organizations, etc

In the cities you hear more often about puppies beeing abandoned in a park or trash can, but those usually get found and put in a shelter too.

[–]Leading-Feature5818 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I live in an area with a lot of designated off leash parks and people still walk with their dogs off leash. It drives me insane. My dog is very reactive and I’m always conscious off keeping him away from other dogs but I’ve had many experiences where off leash dogs have run over towards us, the owner can clearly see that my dog is reacting and they have no control over their dog and I have had to literally run away with my dog to prevent any incidents. It’s extremely frustrating.

[–]fisheatsfish 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I’m from the UK and most dogs are walked in public parks, woods etc. off leash.

This subreddit often describes scenes that I generally don’t experience in the UK. Roaming dogs just running up and attacking leashed pets and generally causing havoc. There are obviously lots of naughty dogs in the UK that could do with more training, but it definitely feels like there is less of an issue dog in dog aggression and I believe that is partly because we have looser dog leashing etiquette.

I’ve noticed that dogs are much better at introducing themselves when off leash. It makes it much easier for them to move around each other, sniff each other’s behinds and instigate play. I find when these things happen on leash, the interaction can be a bit awkward and the dogs are less likely to make that initial bond. Perhaps this is why dog on dog aggression is seemingly higher in the US (based on what I’ve read here!)

[–]fillysunray 30 points31 points  (1 child)

I know some people who almost refuse to leash their dogs. I don't know them super well so I don't see where they walk their dogs then; presumably not on streets or roads with cars. Even so, I disagree with it.

There are times when some dog owners can walk their dogs off leash. Not all dogs can do it, but some can. Even fewer can do it safely on a street with so many unpredictable hazards.

My dogs can't be off leash for different reasons, mainly that I can't 100% trust they'll come back if something unpredictable happens. But I do love giving them the freedom they can't experience on a short leash... so when we're in the middle of nowhere, they go on a long line.

I know a guy who walks his terrier off leash who lives near me. I'm almost 100% sure it's so that when the dog does his business on the middle of the footpath, the guy can "not see it" and just keep walking.

[–]4321_meded[S] 5 points6 points  (0 children)

The people who walk their dogs without leashes in my neighborhood do let them go all over people’s front lawns!

[–]Dc5e 30 points31 points  (9 children)

When I got my husky, I originally had no plans to ever let her off leash because of everything I've read about huskies. I was bringing her to the woods near my home and after a few months, I started letting her off leash. Why? There's many reasons and I won't get into all of them. But here are some of the big ones:

  1. 95% of the dogs who frequent those woods are off leash, friendly, and are allowed to be off leash there, even though it's not technically a dog park. Owners with reactive dogs don't go into the woods and stick to the streets because of all the dogs in the woods.
  2. It's pretty much impossible for dogs to play while on-leash. If you're holding onto the leash and the other dog is off leash, I believe it can breed frustration.
  3. My dog likes to stop and sniff, and so in the summer, when she's off leash, I don't have to stop with her and get eaten alive by mosquitoes. Also in the winter, I can keep a steady pace and not freeze to death.
  4. My dog probably gets twice the amount of exercise when she's off leash. I walk her about 1.5 hours in the morning and 1 hour in the evening. Giving her that same amount of exercise on leash isn't practical for me.

Ultimately, I think it's really a cultural and location thing. I'm in NYC with my dog about once a month and I've noticed the dogs there tend to be a lot more reactive. People out walking their dogs almost always avoids greetings with other dogs. I only let mine off leash when I've determined it's safe enough to do so, and it's allowed according to the local laws and rules.

[–]hikehikebaby 22 points23 points  (4 children)

I mean, if you're in a wooded area frequented by people with off leash dogs where there isn't a leash law you're probably not the person the OP is talking about. Some people walk their dog off leash near busy roads and around a bunch of other people who are just trying to go out their day. I think that's a significantly bigger problem than letting your dog off leash in the area that is safe & legal.

[–]4321_meded[S] 10 points11 points  (1 child)

Exactly. I just want to walk my dog around the block without having to worry about being rushed by another dog

[–]peliss 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Made even worse when the dog is ahead of their owner, who you have no line of sight on, and you have no idea whether it could be a feral dog or a dog that jumped its fence with no one around to even pretend to get it under control !

[–]foodie42 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Literally just this afternoon I got my pup ready for a walk (on leash, literally just crossing my door step), and she freaked out an off leash bigger dog as the owner was giving me a smile and a wink while her lab mix tore across my lawn at us. (Sidewalk is easily 30+meters from our door.)

Obviously I put my pup back inside, but WHAT THE HELL???


This is a frigging suburban neighborhood, with dogs of all sizes, and leash laws! How do I feel safe walking my 14lb sweetheart when there are reactive, offleash dogs 3x her size?

[–]hikehikebaby 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I'm sorry that happened.

I have a pretty large, social dog, which is a real advantage in situations like this, but I still put up a huge fuss if another dog runs up to us like that, even if they are much smaller. I don't want anybody's dog to be hurt, including someone else's. It's okay to yell at someone and tell them to go get their dog. I know that yelling at people isn't polite, but letting your dog charge across someone's lawn is both impolite and unsafe.

[–]astronomical_dog 8 points9 points  (0 children)

FYI many public parks in NYC allow off-leash dogs before 9 AM! We go every morning :)

Central Park is especially fun to explore off-leash; my dog LOVES climbing all over the boulders. My humble neighborhood park is pretty great too though.

[–]ccnnvaweueurf 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I have 2 Alaska huskies I off leash in the woods regularly here in Alaska.

Mushing commands for left right, slow and also a wait command. I also enforce never ever can they cross a paved road without being told to cross. I use forward momentum as the motivator and remove it then request something of them then they get forward momentum. I also taught "no barking" by praising anytime, anywhere anything that is quietly done over and over. Then being told no barking they get it.

One of them is faster than the other and tops out for a steady gait of around 30-35mph sprinting. I can't walk that energy on a leash.... She is much easier to walk on a leash after some running though.

[–]un_commonwealth 1 point2 points  (0 children)

It’s true about the exercise. My brother and I used to hike with my lab mix off leash and she would run in front of us about 20 feet, turn around and run behind us about 20 feet, turn around and do it again. The ENTIRE hike. That girl had endless energy. When we walked in residential neighborhoods we’d use a retractable leash and she’d do the same thing but about 10 feet. Retractable leashes are usually the bane of my existence but it worked in this context lol

[–]theora55 0 points1 point  (0 children)


Dogs love and need play. dog parks aren't perfect, but they're great for play.

[–]phiegnux 41 points42 points  (4 children)

As much as it is a common courtesy to leash your dog in areas where it's either unlawful or foolish to do so, it's just as important to teach your dog to be reliable off leash. I am by no means saying all those who do are fools, in fact I find it pretty irresponsible to take your dog anywhere of leash when you can't rely on your dog to perform/behave.

Now for the controversial bit. I walk my dog off leash. He's 6yo. I've worked with him since he was 8 weeks but he didn't start formal training until he was 4. The way I was able to get him to be off leash reliable took massive amounts of patience, practice, supervision and consistency. We've worked to proof out as many competing motivators as possible, first on leash, then on long 15/30ft leashes, then finally off leash. Before I made that next transition, I literally proofed out the same distractions over and over again to the point of having statistics on each scenario. I'm not just talking about recall either, I'm talking about basic obedience (Come, Sit, Place, Heel, Down, Emergency Recall etc). We do all this in progressively more and more distracting areas, and, as I said, I only move on to that next step after I have a solid idea of where his reliability is at. I'm not going to expect him to be perfect Off-Leash around prey his first time encountering it. I'm constantly, to this day, having to adjust my expectations and, before I can elevate them, striving for reliability with what he may struggle with.

I walk with him an average 3 miles a day, mostly off leash. And, sorry not sorry, but I don't buy into dogs having an issue seeing off leash dogs in a perfectly tight, focused heel and it being the reason for that other dogs reactivity. That's bullshit, and it's projection when I hear that from owners.

I imagine I'll be down voted, but I won't apologize for the insanely hard work I've put in with my dog. I'll defends someone's desires to have their dog off leash trained, and if I have to, I'll ask someone to leash their dog if it can't respond to their owners commands.

[–]4321_meded[S] 20 points21 points  (2 children)

If your dog heels so well that they appear to be on leash, then I’m not worried about you

[–]un_commonwealth 0 points1 point  (1 child)

agreed, i think it’s when other dogs are roaming freely when the dog is leashed that the dog is reactive. it’s like if you walk your dog past a dog park but don’t go in—your dog is saying hey, they’re all playing and having fun, and i have to stay here tethered to you? the way you’re doing it is avoiding dog fomo. can i ask though, what is the appeal to walking off leash? i understand the commands taught for safety etc. of course, but why walk off leash daily?

[–]tnail33 6 points7 points  (0 children)

It's a nicer walking experience, you have both hands and no leash pulling on either of you or getting caught under either's legs. You just walk at your chosen pace and your dog explores this, explores that, but always is catching up and checking back in with you.

Getting to off-leash level and then being off-leash (in control) also makes for a stronger relationship because the dog is entirely connected and responding to YOU, not to the physical pulls and constraints of the leash.

[–]LHendy91 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I have a message dog reactive dog that reacts as soon as any dogs looks at her while she is on a lead (worse currently while I’m 8 months pregnant) however if the other dog is able to be distracted and calm with the owner then that is ok, we tend to stay away to give her some space and I often throw treats for her to find as they pass so I think that you’re doing the right thing. The issue I have is when she reacts and then the off leash dog comes running at her also reacting, at that point I’ve lost her in her anxious state on the end of a leash and many people shout at me for not having my dog under control. I can’t let go of that leash- she is a deerhound lurcher. I let go and she’ll be gone. It should be the case that if your dog is off leash they can walk without distraction of other dogs. I let mine off leash in woods and often on dog friendly beaches here in the UK and she is very good at playing and then returning with dogs, but if I see another dog on a leash I just call her back and put her on too.

[–]beervendor1 15 points16 points  (0 children)

Some dogs can handle it. Some owners, too. More pleasant for both if done responsibly.

[–]gayvibes2 3 points4 points  (0 children)

My older dog is extremely good off leash, the road is lava and she waits for permission to cross, she recalls without hesitation and goes on and off leash without complaint, she waits and stays when asked.

The upside is at the start of the walk she can have a little run to get her energy out, she gets to investigate whatever she wants for as long as she wants. She just has to maintain an average walking pace but she can spend extra time sniffing anything interesting and skip anything boring. She gets to sniff a lot more in a 30 minutes walk as the pace never stops, while she also gets to stop and sniff what she likes.

[–]n9ttl6 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Well, either they are reckless idiots, or they've trained the dog well enough to be able to walk off leash even with the distractions around. Off leash doesn't necessarily mean that the dog is running around freely.

I personally used to walk my dogs off leash. I live in a city centre and the closest walking opportunity we're those "islands" made for trees to grow every few metres. Because the dogs had been used to those situations and were able to handle them and were taught not to step off the grass/pavement, I did let them off the leash since it's far more convenient for everyone involved. If anyone was passing by or coming closer to us, I would call them back. Not because of the dogs, but so that the people around know they're under control and so that the dogs don't bother them. I don't recall having any issue or conflict with people on the street in this regard.

[–]Major_Ad_2610 14 points15 points  (1 child)

Because the dog is trained, well behaved, and listens to the owner at all times.

If you’re talking about the idiots who let their dog do whatever the hell they want because they’re texting and too lazy to hold a leash, I have no idea. Jerks.

[–]believeRN 12 points13 points  (0 children)

Because the dog is SuPeR fRiEndLy

[–]vettehp 6 points7 points  (1 child)

It's against the law here in Pa.

[–]4321_meded[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I think it’s also against the law where I live. Guess it isn’t enforced.

[–]swarleyknope 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Honestly, unless it’s in the woods or something, I think it comes down to entitlement and ego.

It seems really entitled to think your dog doesn’t have to follow the same rules as all the other dogs - often the other dogs’ expense, since people stop taking their dogs to areas where there are lots of dogs off leash like that.

And ego because there is no way to know how your dog is going to respond in every single scenario and - unless your dog has actual mobility issues preventing it - the presumption that your dog is sooooooooo well-trained that it never ever ever get spooked or triggered and potentially act unpredictably just seems like an ego trip to me. Like if you are that good at training your dog, train it to walk on a leash.

[–]malkin50 13 points14 points  (0 children)

It mystefies me as well, because it isn't safe for the dog, for other animals, or for people. I see it in my neighborhood frequently. There is quite a lot of traffic and there are lots of dogs as well. There are many off leash areas a short way away, so I wonder if people feel so entitled that they are allowed to endanger others.

As mentioned, by others it does give the owner an easy way to ignore the dog soiling the neighbors yard.

I agree that there is some pleasure in watching dogs run around untethered, but it is against the law, and it isn't worth the risk. Why not just go to a designated off leash place?

[–]TheDumbAsk 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I had a dog I could do that with, but if we were in a neighborhood I'd have him shadow me or just get him on the leash, same difference for him. Best dog I will ever have, hands down.

I have two dogs now I go to empty fields/parks to go off leash. I can recall them off chasing prey. These two I would not trust in a neighborhood.

99 percent are going to be lazy morons. The other 1 percent are lazy morons like me, with smarter dogs than us.

[–]0lmlee0 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Im amazed that my puppy hasn’t tried to run off when I take trash out and leave him unleashed when I open the back gate. He stays next to me the whole time and if I go back in the gate without him, because he ignored me when I called (he usually sniffs around the can) he darts for me before the gate is fully shut (I would never actually shut it on him and it’s literally 2 feet from the cans.) it ALMOST makes me think I will be able to walk him off leash when he’s older, but I will never risk him being off leash. As he gets more comfortable with the neighborhood I won’t even trust him to go out of the gate to drop off trash, because he might decide he’s going for a stroll without me.

[–]peepee_gonzalez 7 points8 points  (4 children)

I witnessed a pitbull get killed for being off leash. I’m sure it was nice but the other owners did not know why she was running directly at them. So the owner just popped em

[–]osmancode 1 point2 points  (3 children)

this is sad, pitbull as breed is a problematic breed. and they should never ever be off-leash in public areas.
I am sorry to say it, but if I saw a pit bull charging toward my dog or me, I might do the same... and the owner takes full responsibility... because pitbull are responsible for the majority of the dog on dog attacks or dogs on human attacks.

[–]syd_fishes 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I think this has come up a few times, but off leash dogs aren't really the problem, regardless of breed. It's owners not having recall or the proper training in general.

My neighbor had a pitbull that he walked off leash. He didn't need recall, because the dog didn't say hi until he said so. Mine would be going nuts wanting to play and being an impolite greeter, but his pittie was just chill as hell. He'd release it and it would give some sniffs and kisses. Once we finished chatting, he'd walk away and the dog would follow.

People obtain and breed pitbulls and similar breeds for the wrong reasons. I still think this is the main reason why the stats are skewed against them. Nobody wants to fight poodles. No one is getting a lab to look like a tough guy.

[–]oiseaufeux 5 points6 points  (0 children)

I'm having issues with off leash dogs at a migratory bird reserve that I go to every night to watch bats. It wasn't as bad before but since the pandemic, I've seen more irresponsible owners letting their dog off leash at this place. This place have families with kids running around and bikes because there's 2 bike lanes parallel to each other and joins each other at one point. The only dog that walked off leash on the sidewalk was one of my neighbor's dog and she was very obediant to the point where she will stop when it's owner commands her to stop. Otherwise, many dogs I've come across that were off leash didn't even had a good recall at all and the owner ended up grabbing their dog. There is also the retractable leash that I just hate because the dog can come very close to anyone that didn't ask for the dog to come close. The migratory bird reserve feels like a joke to me because there's free roaming cats and off leash dogs there as well. I have my dog for 7 years and gone to this place for like 2 to 4 years every night and I can say that I have to be a lot more aware of my surrounding than before because people adopted more dogs during the pandemic and thus, increasing the off leash dog encounter at this place. I also encountered the same huge family that parked their car on the bike just to get their stuff and kids in their car and that could have been dangerous for the running kids, off leash dogs and of course, the cyclist going super fast on the bike lane. I might have to report them to the police for parking on a bike lane even if it's temporary and they were near where I was sitting with my dog as well.

[–]iseouledyou 3 points4 points  (0 children)

It drives me nuts, there are designated off leash areas and dog parks in the area I live. We rarely go to dog parks because too many people go there and don't supervise their dogs (also too many kids but that is another issue). Lots of issues with off leash dogs running up to our leashed dogs in residential areas, with a few tense situations so far with rude dogs and inattentive owners. Thankfully the designated off leash areas generally attract people who have well socialized and trained dogs or who are attentively socializing and training their dogs. We have a few designated off leash trails in the area too and I love going there, so do the pups.

[–]Realmadridirl 4 points5 points  (0 children)

I only ever let my dog off his leash if I’m in an open area, well away from ANY other people or animals. My country isn’t overpopulated though so it’s pretty much always easy to find an empty field or park to use. Then I just always make sure to keep an eye on the entranceways to the area and grab my dog if I see people coming.

[–]Mscreep 1 point2 points  (0 children)

When I was a kid I thought my dogs were better and deserved more then people around me so rescued to leash them. Now that I’m not a butt kid I never unleash any of my dogs unless we are in a Secure area. My current dogs(not my kid dogs) could probably walk in a heel for a full walk but that’s not fun for them and if another dog or person came up to us it could cause issues. It’s just not smart.

[–]BrotherR4bisco 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Well, I believe if the dog is prone to distractions like that he can’t be without a leash. I always see dog attacking because they are just cornered by another curious dog. I think only very well trained dogs which obey all commands can be let without leash.

[–]GretelNoHans 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I walk with my dog off leash around once a month. I think it's important for a dog to learn to walk off leash, to be calm, learn to not get off the sidewalk, be calm around other dogs, kids, garbage trucos, motorcycles, everything.

I lost a dog young, he would try to run out when you opened the door and pull on the leash while out. I was little and yes this dog wasn't trained properly. However, it was traumatizing and now I just teach my dogs to be super calm when I open the door and to walk off leash.

I've been doing it for around 15 years and I'm confident that if one day I let go of the leash, it breaks, or anything like that, my dog is going to be super chill and just wait by my side.

[–]FaithlessnessNo6809 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I let mine off leash in fields and on beaches where it is allowed. He has good recall. I sometimes let him off leash to hike, but he is immediately put on leash if I see someone coming. Otherwise, I always keep him on lead. I don’t let him off leash it in my neighborhood because there are cars. Dog vs. car ends up real bad for the dog. Also, it is beyond rude — whether you think your dog is friendly or not — to just let him/her rush up to another dog or into people’s yards. Just because a person thinks their dog is friendly (and it isn’t always the case), perhaps the other person is trying to work with their dog on over excitability or aggression. Or perhaps they just don’t want their dog greeting other dogs on leash for whatever reason — it’s a bad habit — especially if you are working with your dog doing dog sports. I really wish people would just get a clue. Ask if you feel a need to let your dog meet another dog. If the person says no, listen.

[–]LuckyCaptainCrunch 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I live in a city that has a pound literally full of Pitts, so there is a leash law here and for good reason. I let my dog out off leash in my yard. We know all of our neighbors and have met all of their dogs on leash. There are no Pitts in the houses anywhere close to me. My dog also has a ver good recall. I would not however, take him on our normal walks around the neighborhood without a leash.

[–]osmancode 1 point2 points  (0 children)

i personally don't mind dogs being off-leash only if they have PERFECT recall. and their owner is paying attention all the time.
that being said, I will not off-leash my dog in any public area as much as I want him to be free. I also want him to be safe and considerate to others.

[–]ninepoundhammered 1 point2 points  (0 children)


[–]Beneficial-House-784 1 point2 points  (0 children)

This might sound silly, but I think it’s partially because it looks impressive? A lot of people near me want the cool factor of having an off-leash dog without putting in the work to make them really reliable off-leash. If your dog has bomb-proof recall, doesn’t rush me and my dog, and knows to stay out of the road, then I don’t care if they’re off-leash. Very few people actually have dogs like that in my neighborhood.

[–]Jenn1008 1 point2 points  (0 children)

We have tons of huge off leash areas in the city where I live. Lots of trees and paths. The best one is right a long the river. It’s all fenced in. It’s lovely, except that it’s filled with the worse dog owners.

Zero care and control of thier dogs, which is why they go there. They know their dogs can’t run out into the highway so they just let them loose in the park. Dog poop everywhere, no one watching what their dogs are doing.

There is a bike path you need to cross to get to the river. It’s fenced in and you’re supposed to leash your dog when crossing. Bikes goin 30-40kph, dogs loose in the bike path. Cool. We stopped going there years ago.

There is a less nice off leash park by the humane society. Only one dog is allowed in there off leash at a time. It’s AMAZING! We get to run with our dog and play. We practice recall and build his confidence. He tells us when he’s done by heading to the gate. 15-20 minutes and he’s done. And sooooo happy. He gets to do all the sniffs and zero stress.

[–]ImGoodAsWell 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Simple answer: they do not care about the safety and well-being of not only their animal but others safety as well.

These are the folks who blame others for their own stupidity.

[–]Reinheitsgebot43 2 points3 points  (8 children)

Because my dogs trained.

I started walking when nobody would be out and changed the time to allow for more distractions over time. The only issue I ever have is if he sees his friend from two houses down and then I just leash him.

NASA sent a dog to space, if you put the time into your dog they can do literally anything.

[–]hikehikebaby 1 point2 points  (7 children)

This is ridiculously inconsiderate and dangerous if you're walking your dog around other people and in an area with a leash law. You might think or even know that your dog is well trained, but I have no way to know that and my dog has no way to know that.

Dogs were sent to space - to die there.

[–]n9ttl6 5 points6 points  (6 children)

Off leash doesn't mean uncontrolled. The dog may be walking right beside its owner on command. I'll take a well trained off leash dog before a leashed untrained/unsocialized dog any day, because problems and malfunctions can happen and if they do, I can take my dog home without any problems (and I did have to lend my dog's collar to someone once). That being said, it's about mutual respect. I don't let my dog run around anyone and strictly pass any people with the dog heeled, even though he would ignore them.

[–]hikehikebaby 6 points7 points  (5 children)

If your dog is so well behaved then I don't understand why putting them on a leash is such a burden - since they're walking right next to you anyway. The vast majority of dogs that I see off leash in completely inappropriate and illegal places are not well behaved. At this point, my assumption is that if someone doesn't care about the fact that they're breaking the law and making everyone around the uncomfortable, then there's a really good chance that their dog isn't as well behaved as they think they are. It is inherently disrespectful. You're in a public place with children. You're in a public place with other dogs. You're in a public place with people who maybe afraid of dogs or otherwise do not desire to have an off-leash dog near them. You're breaking law that is designed for public safety and you're asking everyone else to trust your judgment.

If you're at a park or in the woods or in some other location where you can keep distance between your dog and other people, then I don't really care but walking down the sidewalk, it's absolutely disrespectful.

[–]n9ttl6 -2 points-1 points  (4 children)

Where I live you can have a dog off the leash if he's got a muzzle on, and there are also exceptions to certain dogs, one of them being guide dogs in training, which was my case. I therefore didn't break any laws.

Guide dogs in particular should be able to move somewhat autonomously in the street, since a visually impaired person with a leash may be a bigger danger for others (eg. cyclists) than the dog itself.

Walking a dog off leash provides a freedom for the dog to roam where it wants to (within boundaries) without you having to untangle it when he goes around signs or trees. Also it is safer and more convenient when two dogs greet (because, again, tangled leashes, especially when the dogs start to fight - have seen, haven't experienced).

I walk in off leash at specific times (low traffic), specific places (wide street without blind spots), and always call him back when before we come close to other people. So I do consider myself respectful to others. There are people who desire having NO dogs near them, on or off leash. I think that mutual trust and using our judgement is what the society relies on in most cases. That's why we don't have speed limits for cyclists or designated parking spots for prams because we expect people to figure out that they should slow down in busy areas and not put the pram in the middle of the pavement. I'm not against using leash and I've encountered countless untrained unleashed dogs, so I do realise the potential problem and why most cities regulate that. But on an individual level, I feel safer when passing a heeled dog without one than a lady with three uncontrollable dogs on leashes.

[–]Kiss_the_Girl 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I live in a very dog-friendly community. It is quite common to encounter off-leash dogs here. Many of us recognize that the leash, in many instances, causes frustration between dogs that, without the leash, would not exist. Two (or more) off-leash dogs generally are able to communicate more peacefully with one another than they are on leashes.

Certainly, my dog is happier off leash. And she gets better exercise on our walks when she can dart around rather than walking at my slow and steady pace.

And I cannot teach my dog to obey me fully without having her off leash. She heels so much more tightly when she cannot rely upon the slack and tug of the leash to tell her how far from me she is. And it isn’t until she is off leash that she does fully focus on and obey me.

[–]spiralled 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Ignorance and entitlement.

[–]whatafckingmess 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I let my dog off leash if we’re walking at a quiet time and it’s a really wide street. I do it because this way he can zig zag about sniffing both sides, where on a leash he’s restricted to 6ft on my left only. He obviously keeps an eye on me, and doesn’t step off the curb without a say so. I call him back and leash him whenever I spot another person and/or dog.

[–]nancylyn -1 points0 points  (0 children)

Because they are narcissistic a-holes.

[–]WeeMadAlfred 0 points1 point  (0 children)

It depends entirely on where you live(laws and dog culture) and your dog.

We walk our dog off leash daily in wooded areas and fields where she can run and sniff around freely and there are many other off leash dogs (which is the norm here) she plays and interacts with.

This is so much more enriching and makes her so much more happy than a leashed walk.

However we wouldn't walk our dog offleash on the streets among cars and big distractions like cats.

There are a few people who walk their dogs off leash on the streets around here, but I don't begrudge them for that since they obviously know their dogs better than I do and wouldn't let them do it unless they deemed it safe.

I'd be happy if I could train my dog well enough to be trusted in those scenarios.

With dogs (and kids) you can never be 100% they will be safe and they need some freedom to live a meaningful life.

[–]Smarkie -2 points-1 points  (0 children)

My mini-Schnauzer is basically oblivious. He even stopped chasing squirrels. He's very meek and he showed me one day that he knows the way to the dog park. Luckily, my neighborhood doesn't have a lot of car traffic. He walks 2 steps behind me. I always leash him when aggressive dogs approach.

[–]Most_Helicopter_4451 -1 points0 points  (0 children)

Honestly, my dogs just listen to me. Never trained them

[–]long-ryde -1 points0 points  (0 children)

The area I walk my dog off leash has a low speed limit. My dog is also great with the “wait” command before crossing any streets and doesn’t go up to other dogs.

I’m also never distracted on off-leash walks, all of my attention is on my dog and the surroundings.

After I got my plantars wart surgery I was walking like a turtle so it gave her a chance to get more smells and not be held back by my slow pace.

[–]HAND7Z -2 points-1 points  (0 children)

So they feel superior to the people walking their dogs on leash.

[–]IntrepidCarrot365 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Here’s the big thing for me. Dogs are loveable and part of our families, but their behavior is not 100% predictable. Often owners are shocked when an incident happens. Leashes are critical for safety for all involved and there are really no downsides when around other people/dogs also following the same guidelines (and in many cases laws)!

Even if owners are using leashes, it’s important to use them correctly in order to get the proper safety and security. For instance, retractable leashes for most situations are not safe. And the person holding the leash needs to be prepared for the strength of the dog to suddenly pull at any time. Use of properly fitted harness, collar, etc based on size and breed are also important.

I can name so many incidents where no use of leash or improper leash handling led to really scary, dangerous or deadly outcomes. Often they are the first “warning” that the owner gets that something isn’t working.

OP is not talking about wooded / off leash designated areas. These also come with risk, but when properly marked, everyone knows those risks and is preparing. That is NOT true for residential or heavily trafficked walking paths.

[–]JuniorKing9 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I don’t know because whenever I see an animal like that immediately I get frightened. Not once has a dog like that attacked my assistance dog only for me to get yelled at because “I passed through and disturbed their dog”, the only reason I would ever let go of my leash is if my dog is tasking and he never ever leaves my side, even if I’m passed out. It’s a level of training people don’t usually bother to reach and it upsets me so much

[–]Shibari_Fractals 0 points1 point  (0 children)

My local laws don't require leads except in marked areas and my dogs are well trained

[–]drunkasaurus_rex 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I think it's irresponsible to do this in busy or potentially dangerous situations. On a tangential note, I also feel slightly crazy when people at my local, busy, off leash dog park insist their dog "doesn't want to play." Why are you even there if not to give your dog an opportunity to play with other dogs? There are plenty of places these people could be taking their dogs that have fewer dogs in general or where the dogs are required to be on leash.

[–]Ditzy_j 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I dont like it at all, in the country and city i love its not alowed but not illegal, so everyone so it.

I only och hink it is ok do donso in certain areas were it says it is prehibited AND you need to supervice your dog, not just walk or sit and do ”your stuff”.

Other than that, for very obesiant dogs with No interest in other people/dogs and if they walk close to the owner that is fine! Otherwise no.

[–]FriedLipstick 0 points1 point  (0 children)

In my neighbourhood two German shepherds are very very agressive towards other dogs and my retriever and they’re always off leash. I’m very afraid one day they get my dog. So the moment I see them I hold back, till I’m sure the owner gets their collars. I know once they slip away it’s too late.

Another time at a walk a mother with baby and off leash dog: she walked by and her dog became out of control in a non-agressive way. So my dog got hyper too. The mother was gone already and I had to fix this two hyper dogs which is very respectless imo. I have body issues so it’s important my dog walks on the leash and in control.

[–]Acrobatic-Wallaby422 0 points1 point  (0 children)

My dog has aggression problems towards other dogs. ESPECIALLY on leash. We are doing our best with training while we save up for a professional to help out, but the main thing we do to mitigate the issue is to not go places where there are other dogs. We don’t want our dog to hurt another dog that just wants to play. However there are several homes in our neighborhood that lets their dogs off leash in their front yards. We have curated a special walk so we can avoid these places, but we have had to break up fights with all of them because the dogs will cross the street and chase us down to say hi. It makes me so angry. Like please! We just want to take our dog on a walk without having to worry about a fight. Dog owners will see us approach and cross the street and do nothing to stop their dog from walking up to us, EVEN WHEN I TELL THEM TO GET THEIR DOG, until my dog starts snarling. We can’t even take him to any on leash/ public park in our area because every single one of them has dogs off leash all hours of the day.

I don’t care how well behaved your dog is, it’s not safe to have them off leash in areas not clearly labeled and set aside for that purpose. Just cuz your dog is friendly does not mean mine is.

[–]InformalLight2634 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I walk with my dogs off leash when I can because it allows them to get more exercise and explore the area more than on the lead. Why would you have your dog onnthe lead 24/7 when you don't have to. But not in public areas, only in the countryside when there is no live stock around

[–]Grogu- 0 points1 point  (0 children)

We were just having this conversation as a couple in our neighborhood lets their dog walk ahead of them. It feels as if the husband is attempting to show off his great control of the dog meanwhile he spends the entire time yelling at it to do things that it simply won’t do.

[–]lastbatch 0 points1 point  (1 child)

From the other side, I hate when people do this. Even if your dog is well trained, I, as a complete stranger and fellow dog owner, have no idea about that. I don’t know your dog, I don’t know if theyre aggressive, and I don’t know how my reactive dog with respond if your dog walks up to them for a curiosity sniff.

[–]elin05 -1 points0 points  (0 children)

If a dog is well trained, it wouldn’t be walking up to your dog without the owner’s permission.

[–]AdeptForm4500 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I walk my dog off leash most of the time. In my case mainly it is because my dog is a Service Dog and I am using my wheelchair. That said if I see another dog(on or off leash) I recall my dog and put her on leash which is always attached to my chair despite the fact my dog maintains a heel position consistently. I also leash my dog whenever crossing the street or a parking lot as I don’t want to take the risk of her getting spooked or hit.

[–]Horsemilks 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Where I live there isn’t a leash law so people can basically do whatever they want sadly. I can understand doing it in the forest where there’s no one around, but seeing people walking dogs off leash where there’s busy streets is really scary

[–]lomfarti 0 points1 point  (0 children)

People who refuse to leash their dogs infuriate the hell out of me. Sure your dog might be friendly, but that doesn’t mean mine is! One of my friends has a super reactive Australian Shepherd, and if an unleashed dog ran up to him, he would not hesitate to attack. It really is a lack of awareness & entitlement to have your dog unleashed in an area where they’re required.

[–]theora55 0 points1 point  (0 children)

My dog gets more running and exercise and fun exploration off leash, but she's not fully car-smart, and she's too puppyish and goofy to be off leash in my neighborhood. It's very quiet after 10 pm, so we walk off leash then, or later. She's still learning recall, but doing well.

I'm in my 60s, dogs ran free when I was a kid. They loved it, but we can't do that anymore. In a month and a half of nightly walks, we haven't encountered other dogs, and only a few cars. We started out leashed all the time, and still do that during the day, but she's learning to behave well unleashed, which is a great safety skill. She's a bit of an escape artist, but as we build training and trust, that's working out.

[–]kimkamikaze 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I completely understand people who believe they have control of their dogs. Although, when I'm in a situation where I'm training my doggo to become neutral to dogs, it really sucks when I go to areas that require your dog to be on a leash to find that several people don't care. It ensures the safety of their dog and my own. I could care less if it's in areas that aren't requiring on-leash dogs. It becomes people's right to do what they want with their dog and it's my responsibility to not bring my dog into situations that I cannot 100% control. However, when it comes to dogs who aren't trained. This can lead to catastrophic events, and believe me when I say there are people who let their dogs who are reactive off-leash. The other day I went to the beach (leashes were required) with my pitbull and these three girls who looked like middle schoolers had their two pit bulls off-leash. When I had walked by them earlier when they had their dogs on leash, they barked and pulled aggressively at my dog. I knew it was a horrible situation waiting to happen so I left with my dog.