Leash Walking Your Dog –
On Leash vs. Off Leash Walking
Benefits of leash walking;
Walking our dogs is a daily activity that many dog owners struggle with. Dogs will pull, lunge, bark, sniff and mark on their walks. Our job is to create a walk where the dog is under control and engaging in a “working walk” so there is no time to engage in unwanted behaviours. That means we have to really move and keep our dogs focused on the walk.
This is a time of leadership, as well as mental and physical exercise for the dog and is really beneficial. So, does that mean they don’t get any “down time” on their walks? Not at all – do a vigorous controlled walk to an area where you can take a few moments and let the dog relax, do their business (be sure to pick up!), perhaps have a bit of a run or play if it’s a secure area and they have a reliable recall, and then it’s back on leash and into “walking mode” to finish up your walk and go back home.
Off leash walking;
I’m not sure why anyone would risk having their dogs off leash on a walk. Even if a dog is bomb proof it only takes a second for an accident to happen. We are responsible for their safety, and the safety of others.
Here are a few scenarios that have happened to our leash walked dogs over the past few years – dogs have rushed the door of their house and attacked our dogs, dogs walking off leash have attacked our dogs, dogs free in their yard have attacked our dogs, dogs getting out of their cars have attacked our dogs. So, just using these examples you can imagine that a dog that is being walked off leash might respond to a dog rushing at it by either running away, or running towards it. In either situation you have dogs at large and not very likely to listen to commands from owners and exposed to potential danger. Furthermore, it is very unfair to those who are being responsible to be exposed to others’ carelessness.
The dog park;
The dog park is a very popular option for providing exercise and socialization for pets. However this type of activity does not replace the walk and there are some inherent problems to be considered. The unknown factor of how dogs are going to interact is a risk that you must weigh when using dog parks. There is potential for accidents, and they do happen. I am not a dog park user, nor do I wish to be. Rather, I would round up a few other dog owners whose dogs are healthy, vaccinated and respond to commands well and play appropriately together. You can control the size of the group, and have a rapport with the other owners so that any problems can be resolved to the benefit of all involved. This also offers time to share problems, stories, events and compare notes – a time of companionship for dogs and people.
A note on flexi or extendable leashes; If a dog owner chooses to use a flexi lead it should be not be used where there are other dogs or people. There have been nasty accidents and injuries where flexi leads are involved. Be cautious.
You can read more about this subject – HERE
For an updated list of the designated off-leash parks in Kingston, please see the City of Kingston website – HERE
Do you have any thoughts or experiences? I’d love to hear them, comment below