I have been seeing a trend lately that I don’t like very much like. I live in Chicago and walk my dog every day, and I would say 3 days out of 7, I see an owner walking their dog off leash. Now, I could get into how it is against the law to walk your dog off leash, but the law isn’t the only reason to keep your dog on a leash.
My dog, Bailey, is very friendly. She LOVES people and will happily ignore other dogs. But I would never walk Bailey off leash. Not only would I worry about her seeing a squirrel and running off to chase it, but I would worry about cars driving suddenly out of the alley, unfriendly dogs approaching her, etc. There are many unpredictable factors beyond the control of any dog or owner.
So why do people walk their dogs off leash? The answers I often get are: my dog is friendly; my dog would never leave my side; my dog is too old to go anywhere. Every time I hear these responses, I think to myself, “no matter how reliable you think your dog is, they will always surprise you.”
The other thing I always think is that you don’t know what the environment will surprise you with. Your dog may be the most sociable dog in town, but you might run into a dog that is not very friendly. Your dog might decide to approach another off leash dog and the next thing you know, the other dog is telling your dog to get away and there is nothing you can do.
We all love our dogs and want what is best for them. So, I am just going to conclude by saying, be an advocate for your dog. Only you can do what’s best for them. Happy walking!