It’s easy to see the allure of training your dog to walk off-leash – it looks so effortless when you see a dog walking nearby their pet-parent with ease. What a well-behaved dog, you think! However it isn’t the ideal situation for every pet, and it’s important to be aware of the potential issues. Before considering off leash dog walking, you should consider the pros and cons of each.
Pros of off leash dog walking
Off leash dog walking gives your dog time to explore
Dogs love to go on adventures and sniff everything in sight. Being off-leash certainly gives them time to do so! This will in turn make your dog happier and more content.
It lets your pet get exercise, physically and mentally
The time that you walk your dog is really meant as an outlet for your dog to stretch his legs, get moving, and get a breath of fresh air! By having more freedom of being off of the leash, he gets to use his brain to decide where to go rather than being restricted to a leash (and guided by you).
It helps establish and promote good behaviors
Being off-leash is a privilege your dog will be happy to take advantage of, but it’s important that the training is completed properly to ensure your pet’s safety. Because there is a more intense training process for being off-leash rather than on-leash, it helps your dog be more disciplined and listen to you when you call them.
Cons of off leash dog walking
There is no way to be certain that your dog will be safe off-leash
Unfortunately, you can’t control the world around you when your dog is off of the leash. You can do your best to train them to come when you call. However, when it comes down to it, they are certainly more susceptible to dangerous situations.
Dogs can get scared and react instinctively
Environmental factors are important to consider while training, as being in the city will be very different than a residential, suburban neighborhood. Will your dog regularly hear cars honking? Or could another wild animal show up and make your dog feel at risk? These things can all make your dog react quickly and without thinking, which can lead to issues.
Your dog could get into something that could hurt them
We’ve all been there: we’re on a walk with our pet and they start eating something that we can’t see. Usually we get their attention and quickly control the situation, distracting them from the offending item. However, when they’re off leash, it’s easier for them to wander and find things on their own that aren’t necessarily good for them.
Many people don’t like the attention of dogs
It takes a lot of training to teach a dog to fight its natural excited instincts when they meet a new person. If your dog tries to greet a stranger who isn’t a fan of dogs, it could cause issues.
Other dogs could have issues with your dog
Sadly, there are some dogs who don’t play well with others! With a dog off-leash, it’s very important to do your best to keep your pet away from any unfriendly animals who may try to act aggressively toward them.
While there are many benefits when it comes to walking your dog off-leash, it’s imperative that the potentially dangerous environmental factors are taken into consideration if you choose to do so! If you’re looking for a great way to give your dog the benefits of walking off-leash while keeping them in a safe and controlled environment, perhaps take them to a dog park or a fenced-in yard for similar exploration time.
Do you do off leash dog walking? What are your best tricks for keeping your dog in check?