My Dog Is Friendly (And Other Things People Say As Their Dog Runs Towards You Off-Leash)

Most people realize that dog leash laws exist to protect all dog owners. The majority of dog owners say that they always leash their pets when taking their dogs with them into public places. A relatively large percentage of dog owners actually ignore the leash laws at least some of the time. You may be one of them and it could cost you your dog’s life. Are you guilty of any of the following justifications?

  • “Don’t worry, my dog is friendly”. Great! You have a friendly social dog that doesn’t want to start a fight. Even if that is true (and I’m not saying that it necessarily is), can you vouch for the other dogs? Dogs, like people are not all social butterflies. Some want or need to be left alone for too many reasons to list here. Service dogs need to be left alone to work. Is it so important to let your friendly dog run free that you are willing to risk their lives? Friendly dogs are killed every single day. Just today, I heard about a puppy that was killed when it ran up to the wrong dog that was leashed. We want everybody to rescue a dog and save them. Once we rescue these poor dogs, they often need rehabilitation and socialization. They are not instantly friendly. Please respect that all dogs should have a chance to take a walk without your friendly dog testing their level of socialization. You set their training back by weeks every time your dog spooks these fearful dogs.
  • “I only let them off-leash when I am hiking and nobody is around.” Are you sure? If you are out walking or hiking, can you see around every corner and under every bush to determine that you are truly alone? Seriously? I live in Los Angeles and urban coyotes, mountain lions, skunks and gangs are a real risk here. When I lived in Arkansas, wild hogs, deer, and bears were among the real risks on every trail that we hiked. Do you live somewhere where wildlife isn’t a concern? How about that other hiker around the corner with the dog-aggressive dog? Or, is that you?
  • “I can’t believe my dog did that! They are never aggressive!” I have heard this one before and so has everybody else. We know you are lying. So stop it. Really. Just. Stop. Don’t let your dog that is aggressive hurt or kill our dogs. Please. Our dog is everything to us. Plus, Animal Control or the police will take your dog. It isn’t fair to your dog either.
  • “I only let him off-leash in my own front yard.” No I don’t have a fence. Of course my dog would never run into the street after a ball, cat, bird, or another dog unexpectedly. His recall is perfect. I am envious. I have never met a perfect dog. Have I mentioned the story about the Maltese that was taken by a coyote while his owner stood in the yard. This dog was taken two weeks ago in within 5 miles of where I live. A small poodle was also taken a few weeks ago within a few miles of my home from the neighbors yard.

If you want to enjoy your dog running free, and your dog IS really friendly and well socialized, go to a dog park or off-leash dog beach. Please don’t risk your dog or mine. If this article gets one person to re-think their leash habits and it prevents an injury or death, then it is worth it. This article is not aimed at service dogs that legally are allowed off-leash to perform their tasks.

Originally published at


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