I think one of the most important things I have learned while being a zookeeper is that both wild and domestic animals can be unpredictable, no matter how well you think you know said animal. The main reason for this is because our world is unpredictable. We may try to control our environment, but it is impossible!
It is for this reason – the unpredictable nature of both animals and the environment – that I will never trust my dogs off leash when we are not in a safe area. Living in the city, I am always shocked to see how many people walk their dogs off leash on busy roads. For one thing, I am a little jealous that their dogs are so well behaved: walking right next to them, stopping before they cross the street, etc. But after my two seconds of envy have passed I get completely stressed out and fear for that dog’s safety! I do not care how well-trained or mellow a dog is, you can never know what will happen on walks – a squirrel, a car crash, kids running by, a loud pop from a motorcycle – all of these could be the thing that causes your dog to bolt.
It’s important to remember that not all dogs are friendly. And sometimes dogs can be worse when on leash. So if one dog is off leash and runs up to an already-stressed dog on leash, bad things may happen, even if the off leash dog is friendly.
So please, think twice before going out for a walk with your pup and letting him off leash!