Saturday, June 01, 2013

Safety Tip: Using A Leash For Your Dogs

"Martin says when they arrived at a family member's home, the owner's dogs, although friendly, came running toward Abbey, frightening her and causing her to run into nearby woods"

I presume this case is an off leash situation, based upon the way this article is written. And if I'm right, then it's another case, out of millions, where dogs run away when the owners take them off leash in situations where the dogs aren't capable of being managed off leash.

I see this kind of thing all the time. I saw it this morning while hiking. A couple took their Golden Retriever off leash as they walked down the trail towards the parking lot.... about 3/4 of a mile away. Yes, the dog stayed relatively close, but clearly the dog didn't obey their verbal commands to come back when it was getting too far ahead. These people took way too big of a risk with their dog.

I saw another case a few days ago with one of my students. The husband let the dog off leash in the garage simultaneously when the wife came home in her car and opened the other garage door with her garage door opener. The dog started running down the driveway, and the husband didn't even see what was happening. Fortunately, I was there, just arriving for a lesson, called her to me, she came, and all was well. I've told them repeatedly not to let the dog loose until it is inside their fenced yard, because they've been lax in their supervision a number of times, including leaving side doors to the home ajar, and therefore their dog has gotten loose, and learned how fun it is to get loose, from the property.

I generally do not take dogs off leash in public places, and only certain dogs that I know very well, and know that they will obey in the circumstances I'm putting them in. Hunters, for example, let dogs off leash in the wilderness to hunt for animals. But, they don't do that with untrained dogs. Police will let dogs off leash to search for and capture criminals, but again, those are very well trained dogs.

Most people don't have well trained dogs. Shelters are full of untrained dogs, or dogs that have been abusively handled by people who did their own, stupid, do-it-yourself dog training. So, the dogs get loose, cause mayhem, or get injured or hopelessly lost.

Keep your dogs on leash. I know your dog isn't well trained. Don't be stupid. Don't put your dog at risk. This story had a happy ending. A lot don't.

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