One of the most raved about “trick” or things dogs can do is being able to be off leash. Many owners including us, are immensely happy when our dogs can be off leashed. By definition, being off leash just means the dog is outdoors without a leash on. But it varies from owners to owners what being off leash means. To some, it simply means that the dog can be off leash and will not run away. To some it means that the dog is not going to attack or go crazy on other dogs. To others it means that the dog is good at recalling.
If your dog can be off leashed, it means you, your trainer or whoever had the dog before you have put in a considerably huge amount of time to train the dog and make sure the dog does not go rocketing off the minute it’s off leash. By law, all dogs have to be on leash when they are outside.
To us, being off leash is a very huge responsibility. The responsibility lies not only on us on whether our dogs are going to return when called, the responsibility is also on the dog. They have to be polite, and attentive when they are off leash. No one loves seeing dogs having fun off leash more than us. However, many off leash dogs take being off leash a full fledged freedom and they start “exploring” every where.
A very common situation is when the off leashed dog starts enjoying it’s freedom and going everywhere, sniffing everyone, every dog, every patch of grass. First of all, not everyone likes dog, even if they do, having your dog running up to people expecting to be pet isn’t the most polite thing to do. If there are other dogs that you don’t know and the owners have them on leashed, the best option would be to leave them alone. The dog may be undergoing training, the dog may be in stress, the owner may not be in control. Even if the dog is perfectly balanced, the owner has enough control, leave them alone, a dog on leash is in a very compromised situation when your dog off leash goes running up to them. The last thing you want is your dog being attacked by another dog just because you let it off leash (who can you blame then?).
Polite Off Leash Pointers
Make sure you also instil doggy manners if you are planning to off leash your dog. Always keep your dog by your side if the situation is distracting, especially when there are other dogs or humans around. Watch out for your dog, make sure it doesn’t disturb others or pick up any bad habits along the way – Some dogs treat being off leash a holy matter, they will start sniffing every inch of the ground and mark every bush they find. Never let your off leash dog run up to another dog on leash. Never let your off leash dog be in other’s way. Make sure you know where your dog is, make sure your dog knows where you are, and comes back to you when called.
What we always look out for before our dogs are off leashed – we never let the dogs off leash if they don’t know how to behave on leash. If you can’t walk your dog properly on leash, they shouldn’t be off leash. We have learnt over the years to never let the dogs off leash at any dog event when there are dogs are on leash unless they are attentive and polite and we have 150% confidence that they are going to come flying back despite distractions. If they don’t fly back, they don’t get to be off leash. Never allow them to mark, over sniff and disturb any one or any dog. Every human and dog has it’s space, unless our dogs and us learn to respect that, they should always be on leash.
The above are what we always take note of and remind ourselves to keep up with. We hope for a day when all owners will be considerate towards all dogs and have tremendous polite off leash fun.