All Things Dog Blog
The secret to canine safety – walk on leads!


Does my dog Pluto have perfect recall? Absolutely not. So why would I ever in my right mind walk her along our neighbourhood streets off the lead? A VERY good question… one that I’ve had to seriously ponder since I read this article by a vet about how to save money on vet bills. Basically the vet’s answer is a no brainer. Here’s what Dr. Eric Barchas says:

On-leash dogs almost never get hit by cars. They almost never fall off cliffs. They rarely get into fights (and, if everyone properly leashed dogs with poor recall, they never would get into fights). Off-leash dogs, on the other hand, get into trouble all the time. 95% of the canine trauma cases I have seen could have been avoided with proper leashing.

Rocket science, right? I bet it won’t come as a shock to any of us that dog leashes are the strongest tool we have to keep our dogs safe. And yet… we still see so many dogs out there roaming free with or without their people in sight. Why? Don’t we love our dogs? YES! We’re just suckers for the frolic! What’s better than seeing your dog galavanting along, sniffing and snorfling as it suits her, back legs kicking up joyously in the air in front of you?  I just love to see Pluto running joyously and I like to think she has some time outside to make her own choices in the world.

Our streets a very quiet and yet there have been some recent incidents which should have set off alarm bells. There have been several cases of the disappearing doodle. And then on a walk a few weeks back Pluto suddenly shot across the street to investigate a neighbourhood cat. Puffed up like a blowfish the cat scampered into the highest branches of the tallest tree. The neighbours were absolutely fuming and rightfully so. What could I say? She doesn’t normally do this. But does she occasionally do this?

After reading this  vet’s article I just can’t in good conscience walk Pluto off lead any more. That’s it. We are sorted and have been on lead ever since. If like me you’ve felt any ambiguity in this area I hope my post can help you as well. Take the lead.. and walk your dog safely!

6 Responses to The secret to canine safety – walk on leads!

  1. Megan says:

    This blog is music to my ears!
    I have always longed to walk my Labrador Kayley off-lead, to see her run along carefree and totally enjoying our outings.
    But after experiencing many ‘close calls’ with dogs off lead I now realise the error of that train of thought.
    Given how sociable and friendly she is, to people and other dogs, I have been thankful on more than a couple of occasions that she has been on lead as we have come across other less socially-inclined canines.
    Add to that the risk of living anywhere near a roadway… Stressful! Let’s not even touch on the risk of dog parks when unsocialised dogs are let loose.. Maybe another blog?!
    So thankfully Kayley has an assortment of leads, some longer than others, in her accessory collection. This makes for not only a much safer pooch but also a less worried and anxious mum… More pleasant walks for all involved! 🙂

  2. zoe says:

    Good on ya Megan! I’m glad to hear Kayley is safe and sound. It was really hard for me to establish a balance between giving Pluto her freedom and keeping her completely safe… especially when she listened MOST of the time. But most is not enough. That’s what I’ve gotten to and I am very relieved. Now I don’t even have to think about it any more. Good to hear from you!

  3. Teangi says:

    A big YAY for this post Zoe.

    I come from the other stand point from that of Megan with Kayley!
    My dog isn’t good with other dogs – but we understand his ‘issues’ and ‘limitations’ and ALWAYS have him on lead in public so that he wont upset any other dogs. We are responsible pet owners, love our dog despite his flaws, but manage his ‘issues’ very strictly for his safety and the safety of others.

    The annoying thing is that walking him is not always enjoyable for the stress of meeting other people who have their dogs off lead and think its ok for their dog to come up to my restrained dog (which makes him panic and stress more ~ he has been bitten so many times!). They always preceed the meeting by ‘its ok my dog is friendly’ but still think its appropriate to show us their disapproval when our dog gets cranky at the unwelcome visit!

    I totally agree – dogs on lead at all times means everyone is safe and everyone can enjoy a stress free dog walk.

  4. zoe says:

    Thanks Teangi. Good point! That villain was definitely once me all over. Pluto is definitely joyously friendly. I would always try to call her away from dogs on lead but sometimes she dog-brained it and waggled all over them. It’s not okay. Dogs with anxiety deserver our respect!

  5. Teangi says:

    I can totally understand how/why it happens. I was like that too until I came over to ‘the dark side’!

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