When you live with dogs you live with dogs on leashes; if and when I can safely allow my dogs to run free I do. Dogs running for the simple love of running is about one of the best things in life to watch. But then there are times when leashes are a must and frankly just good common sense. Many of my clients use to ask "when are we going to work off leash?" They wanted to be able to walk down a street with their dog off leash. I don't even do that with Tilley and Tilley as you all know is perfect.
Why do I not walk down the street with my dogs off leash? Because it's stupid; that's why. Even the best trained dogs will bolt; cat!!!! chase it. This can happen before a dog even knows what they are doing. Why risk your dogs life? I see people jogging with their dogs 100s of feet behind them on a busy street and it makes me shudder.
Another good reason for leashes is when you have a dog that is; let's say not so social. Let's use Jessie as an example; Jessie is a very dominant Jack Russell. When she meets a new dog she needs to let them know that she is the Queen of the world and they must bow down to her. Well; not such a good thing to do to all dogs you don't know. Some dogs just dont' like having a 15 lb little tank body throwing themselves at them. So, Jessie is almost always on a leash basically for her own safety.
The other day at the park there was a bunch of woman exercising on mats; the teacher of the group had an old golden off leash. I played the whole scenario in my head before we even got close to the area where they were working. The big lumbering golden was going to come and say hello to Jessie; she was going to take a mouthful of his golden locks from his body and the lady would yell at me, nope not happening. As I got closer and saw the golden coming our way I shouted "my dog is not friendly." She shot up off her mat and apologized immensely for her dog wandering our way. Much better than the first scenario.
You can tell when someone has a dog that is not entirely social; they will give you space. They either pull their dog in or get off the path; perhaps position their dog on the other side of them. Watch for these signs; they are there if you pay attention. I don't know how many times I've reigned Jessie in to have someone else keep coming our way; letting their dog go to the very end of their extension leash until I have to say "she's not social."
Come on, not all of us want a stranger in our face.