Social Question

partyparty's avatar

When you walk your dog, do you have it on a lead or let it run free?

Asked by partyparty (9157points) December 30th, 2009

Is it a responsible owner who allows their dog to run freely when out for a walk? How do you feel when your dog, who is on a lead, is approached by another dog who is running freely? What if this dog is unfriendly? Is it cruel to keep it on a lead?

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34 Answers

syz's avatar

It depends entirely on the situation, the setting, the dog and the owner.

My own dog stays immediately at my side even off-lead, so I tend not to use one. However, if I am at a state park that has a leash law, in a situation that has other dogs off-lead, or in a noisy and crowded setting that may confuse my own dog, then I use a lead.

Unfortunately, many owners who allow their dogs to roam off-lead do not have adequate control over their pets.

And, no, using a leash on a dog is not cruel.

Snarp's avatar

It is irresponsible, and in many place illegal, to let your dog run freely. Animal behavior is unpredictable, even in well trained animals, and particularly in response to the many situation you may encounter while walking your dog. Dogs should only be off leash if contained by a fence or building or in very rural or wilderness areas. And even then, you are taking your chances.

Pseudonym's avatar

I always keep my dog on a leash on walks. At the moment she’s just a small 7 month old puppy living in NYC, so it wouldn’t be pretty if she was let off lead. But I don’t plan on taking any chances of that nature once she’s older.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

I keep my puppy on a lead. She’s very frisky (and quite FAST), and I’m afraid she would get excited and start running. I live on a very winding road, and I worry about passing cars.

Jude's avatar

He’s on the leash until I get to the beach. Then, I let him run.

marinelife's avatar

I would not walk my dog off leash just down the street. Dogs require off-leash exercise, which they can get in a backyard or at a designated off-leash dog park or in open space.

Snarp's avatar

Why exactly would keeping your dog on a leash be cruel? Seems to me that once you’ve crossed that line, then keeping pets is cruel, they should all be wild (not that I believe that either).

baxter's avatar

leash, always.

unless we’re at the beach or in a close friend/relative’s yard and they’re fine with it.

otherwise I let the little guy run free at home, can’t keep a pup chained up for too long.

Likeradar's avatar

I usually let my dog run free. Most of our walks are in a big public park in my neighborhood or along biking and walking trails. The law says she has to be leashed, but I’d estimate 75+% of the dogs we meet are off leash.

She’s very well behaved, comes when called, and doesn’t usually get more than 20 feet from me. She loves to chase squirrels and bound through snow drifts.

She stays on the leash when we’re around cars, or walking anywhere that’s not park land, and I leash her when I see someone coming towards us with their dog on a leash. I know my girl will just sniff and move on, but I don’t know why the other dog is leashed, and think it’s just good manners to yield to the person following the rules.

sakura's avatar

I let my dog run free if we are in the woods, it is usually pretty quiet when we walk him, and we can see far enough ahead if there is another dog approaching. We normally call our dog to heal, not because he is aggressive but he can get over friendly! If I can’t get him to heal, I always try to reach him asap in case the other dog isn’t as friendly

I find it horrible when a dog is off its lead and can’t control its aggression (or the owner isn’t bothered about it’s aggression) My dog was ‘attacked’ yesterday by a much bigger dog and although I know it sounds worse than it really is, it wasn’t pleasant, and I didn’t even get an apology!
If we are walking on the street I tend to keep him on a lead, just for safety, I’d hate for him to be spooked and run into the road.

casheroo's avatar

Always on a leash. He is a small dog, and we live in a highly populated area, on a busy road. He doesn’t listen well enough to be off a leash or lead. (he has to be on a lead in the backyard, because he’s so small, just in case he tries to get out of the fence somehow.)

Snarp's avatar

Dogs in my neighborhood routinely are let out without any restraint, and I worry a great deal walking my dog. He’s generally non-threatening, and he’s small enough that I can easily control him, but he also will not back down to another dog. I have had neighbors dogs follow us down the street while I keep my dog moving to avoid confrontation, all the while the neighbor is calling the dog from their porch and the dog is ignoring them. Sadly it happens repeatedly with the same dogs. You would think these people would learn that their dogs are not well behaved enough to be unrestrained, even if having them unrestrained was acceptable.

CMaz's avatar

Actually he gets to run free. I am on the lead.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

In many places, leash is the law.

Silhouette's avatar

I take mine to isolated places once in awhile to let them off lead but for the most part they stay on the end of a leash. First it’s safer, second it’s the law. I don’t get scared when approached by loose dogs, but I do get annoyed sometimes, because it stops our walk until the owner of the loose dog catches up and gets his animal. Otherwise it would follow my dogs off. I have been tempted a couple of times to let free willie follow me home so I could keep him. ;)

john65pennington's avatar

If i lived out in the country, my border collie would run free…free. but, since i live in a big city, the leash law prevails. one day, i am going to take Mikey out to a country friend of mine and let him run free with his sheep. his natural instinct will be to herd the sheep and we both are looking forward to this. i agree, that in the city, that dogs should be a leashed.

Silhouette's avatar

@john65pennington You should do it as soon as possible. Watching a border collie do what they do is beautiful.

mellow_girl's avatar

when my dog leaves the house she is always on leash because it is safer than taking the chance of her getting in the street, we love her too much to do other wise, she does get to run free because we have a large fenced in back yard that she loves, but that’s it, even at the beach she’s on leash…

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I have a German Shepherd that heels at my side without a lead when we walk.I carry a lead in case we’ll be in a place where there will be alot of people.She’s well trained though.I do run into situations where an owner has their dog running free and cannot call it back.That is not a good thing.We usually just keep walking and ignore the other dog,which works well….but my dog also carries a wooden baseball bat on these daily walks which I will use to beat the !@#$ out of an aggressor:)

Judi's avatar

I get so upset when people don’t leash their dogs. My dog may be on a leash, but she thinks she is the only dog in the world. If someone else’s dog tries to come and play it could get ugly. I would prefer that the other owner have complete control of their dog. I rarely take molly out in public because of this. I know I am a horrible dog mommy for not socializing her as a puppy, but she is now 11 years old and almost blind, so unless Cesar is coming to my house soon, she will never learn to be any less neurotic.

Judi's avatar

@john65pennington ; My queensland sheltie mix herds my grand children.

lovemypits86's avatar

def on a leash bc god forbid my 2 pits get out and eat a child lol my siamese walks on a leash too

JustPlainBarb's avatar

There is a leash law in the town I live in. Most everyone walks their dogs on a leash and picks up after them too. There are dog parks where dogs can run around freely, or in your fenced yard.

stemnyjones's avatar

There’s a leash law for a reason. It’s not cruel to have your dog on a lead, and if you don’t (no matter how well trained your dog is) there is a chance that something can catch his eye; a bunny or some other small critter running away, another dog, etc; and he can run off. He can get hit by a car, or get lost and starve to death, or even possibly get rabies from a wild animal and attack another person or dog.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Fact from fiction, truth from diction. Even if there were no rule or law stating it you should always have your dog on a leash the same as you’d have your child by the hand. You can never know when the dog will go off chasing something I know you have a very good dog, but just as people with “very good kids” things happen and you won’t be able to catch them in time. Also dogs can often be territorial or combative when meeting another dog. I have seen it when certain dogs at certain times cross each other’s path if it were not for the owners having their dog leashed there might have been a dog fight; you don’t want that, if your dog is the loser it might mean an expensive vet bill. It is just smarter and safer to have them on the leash.

Judi's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central ; and if MY dog is on a leash and yours isn’t, and MY dog is the loser, it is STILL an expensive vet bill, because the owner of the unleashed dog will be paying MY vet bill as well.

AnnieB's avatar

I live in town. My dog stays on her leash while we’re home. (She is able to run when we go out to the countryside). One of my neighbor’s let their dog roam free, and it shits in everyone else’s yards….not appreciated!

If my dog, being on a leash, were approached, and attacked by an unfriendly dog, I would turn loose of my dogs leash, and be dumb enough to try to break it up ANY way I could.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Judi Check out @AnnieB, that is how you handle that; ot os not that hard. I don’t think anyone will just stand there holding the leash of their dog is attacked but to let a dog run loose when it could be the instigator because of what some other owner MIGHT do, is no way to minimize risk.

downtide's avatar

I am lucky, there are a lot of places (parks and fields, woodland, disused railway tracks, waste land etc) in my neighbourhood where I can let my dog run off the lead. I keep her on the lead when there are other dogs around, and she tends to be clingy and doesn’t like to be far away from me so she doesn’t run off. I’ve also trained her extremely well. But it totally depends on the location, the temperament of the dog, and the temperament of any other dogs in the area. I trust my dog implicitly but I don’t necessarily trust any other dog we may meet.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I have my dogs on leads until we get to a field where I know I can let them off. I like them to have a certain amount of freedom where they can socialise with other dogs and luckily there is a big field close by where the majority of people let their dogs run free. I am pleased to say I have never witnessed any trouble with so many dogs running free in this field. However, I never have my dogs running free near the road.

tinyfaery's avatar

My boy cat never goes outside without his harness and leash.

Ron_C's avatar

I take my dog on the trails. He runs free, flushes deer, fell into a creek once, and found a couple bears. We both head home when the bears show up. He usually beats me home.

dpworkin's avatar

In the city I keep my dog on a lead and she is trained to heel. At home I just let her out. All the dogs in my neighborhood are free-roaming, and they enjoy one another’s company. When we hike, or do long country walks, she ranges ahead of me and the returns, and I carry a flexi lead in case we come across someone who is afraid of dogs, or who has an aggressive dog.

Darwin's avatar

Mine are all walked on leashes. There is a leash law in our town, although many people ignore it. In addition, my dogs are basically all strays, and all have suffered some forms of abuse. Since I didn’t raise any of them from a pup, and since several are quite large an tend to be aggressive. that means I really don’t know what to expect of them. Hence I keep control over them as the better part of valor.

They are talking about opening a dog park – that would be a great place to try the dogs out,. in case they were jealous.

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