When you have a dog off-leash, particularly in an environment with other people or dogs, your responsibility increases with your dog’s freedom. Our dog, is often off-leash in the city, beaches or trails in the woods. Our dog loves/needs to run off-leash to be happy at the end of the day. A day at the end of a leash is simply not the same.
We are aware of how our our off-leash dog can rankle the nerves of others, both dog and non-dog people. A dog trainer who I have a great deal of respect for wrote this article which I think has a few very valid points. Here are a few tips on how not to piss off those around you with your off-leash dog. I thought I would offer a few tips of managing your off-leash dogs while respecting the needs of those around you.
Voice Control Is Developed Through Good Dog Taining
The first step is training your dog to come immediately when called. Commands like Whoa, Down and Leave It are just as valuable. Get your hands on a long 30 ft. leash to practice these commands or take a good dog training class. If you and your dog are living in a city like Boston, training is essential.
Read The Body Language Of Other People and Dogs
There are plenty of non-dog people who are terrified of an approaching dog. Imagine if you were already afraid of dogs, walking along and saw my dog bounding at you the moment the above picture was taken. Not everyone loves dogs (sad but true).
Other dog owners with their dogs on-leash equally important to watch. Particularly when you see them stringing up their dog as if a fight is going to happen. Assume for a moment, it is not your dog they are worried about, but their dog might have serious aggression issues. Help a fellow dog owner out and give them some space.
I have yet to see a time where screaming “It’s OK!” made the situation better. Actually, it seems to be a great way to really piss off the other party. Add children into the mix…
Pick Up After Your Dog
Dog owners leaving leaving their dog’s feces behind for others to deal with might be the number one reason dog owners lose access to parks, buildings and events. I thought there was nothing worse than stepping in dog shit, particularly when wearing flip-flops. That was until my dog stepped in another dog’s crap, tracked it into our home and I spent my time just before dinner cleaning the floors and the crevices of his paws.
Be cool, train your dog to come when called and be respectful to those around you with and without dogs.
Because our dog is so ridiculously fast and is always on the move, we go an extra step. Generally Moose wears an e-collar that I control by remote to vibrate or zap if needed in emergency. We have him trained to come immediately when his collar vibrates or if something horrible was about to happen could deliver a light zap to get his attention. This is not for everyone or every dog. For us, living in a fast paced environment and constantly exploring new places, it is an extra step to keep our dog safe while running off-leash.