I was at the park the other day; we were heading towards the car at the end of our walk. Looking across the street I saw a black lab laying leashless staring straight ahead. I watched, of course. Following his line of stare I found his owner walking away with a brown lab; this boy was obviously doing a long down stay. He was doing really well but as I watched I realized that she was going to release him from far away. Right in his path was a "people" photographer with clients. Anyone who knows a lab also understands the whole locomotive concept.
She yelled his release and threw his ball from a chuckit. Okay, the picture above sort of explains it all. Doesn't take that much thought to figure out what is going to happen, right? It happened and everyone was sort of in disbelief; the biggest surprise was from the owner. "I can't believe he did that; he's never done that before." He's never gone directly after the ball? Hmmmmm, strange.
Anyhow this whole train of thought is about being off leash. As you all know I had a run in the other day with an off leash dog down in the canyon. I'm not a big fan of off leash if you don't have complete control; that and respect for others. I never let my guys off leash around people without dogs; it just is not right. I know that some people are very afraid of dogs and the sight of one off leash can be traumatizing. Control is an elusive thing from what I see; lots of people let their dogs off leash and have absolutely no control. It's just plain stupid.
Not only do we need to think about others but we need to think about our dogs. Is taking the leash off really that important? Of course there are times when you are in a big field; away from anyone else and it's time to take the leash off, completely agree. I love off leash runs with my dogs but there is a great deal of thought put into them. I let Luke off quite a bit at the park but I first do the huge horizon scan; and he is amazing off leash, comes right away.
I don't get people who walk their dogs off leash down the street; I will never get this and think that each time their dog is not hit by a car is another bullet dodged. So many people walk down the street; their dog sort of by their side trotting along. What difference would it make if they had a leash on? It could save their life, that's a big difference. We have a local yorkie owner who I regularly see at the park; her dog is always running around the street. And I feel bad for the day it does get hit; drivers cannot see that little thing in the road. It's not right.
Next time you consider taking the leash off; think about harassing others, the safety of your dog and your degree of control first.