Welcome to another installment of “Dear Maxine”, where my canine, feline (and occasional human) friends, write in for advice on immunizations, nutrition, behaviors and anything else on their minds. (Full disclosure, my human mom helps me type this.)
Our fourth letter comes to us from a concerned, unleashed pup in Lincoln who writes:
My name is Larry and I have a wonderful dog that is very well trained and wonderful on walks. I would like to start riding a bike with my dog. What are your thoughts about me exercising my dog without a leash?
Unleashed in Lincoln
Thank you for writing. This is interesting because my hooman has been reading lots of articles on this subject lately. While it may be tempting to experiment with taking your canine companions on walks or bike rides or hiking without a leash, in my opinion, it’s not a great idea. Here is why:
You may be confident that your dog is trained well, has an impeccable record of not running off, obeys commands and has a wonderful demeanor. While I understand you’re convinced that your dog won’t do anything spontaneous, I get it. But the truth is that your dog is an animal and any claim that you’re 100% certain your dog won’t do anything is incorrect. They MAY not, but you can’t be certain. It’s simple; dogs are animals and react instinctively. 99 times out of 100 your dog may behave, may avoid distractions like other dogs, children, noises, but what about that 100th time? What if on that 100th time, he cannot ignore the squirrel and takes off after it, ignoring your yells or commands? What if he runs across the street and gets hit?
So now you’re saying, “no, no no my dog wouldn’t do that!” Maybe you aren’t concerned about your dog. But I am concerned about mine. For example, while I’ve trained Maxine to ignore other dogs, if your dog starts barking, she’ll respond. If your dog isn’t leashed and decides to act instinctively (again, they’re dogs) and runs towards us, Maxine will react. My fear is that it could be bad.
Despite my efforts to avoid your unleashed dog and the fact that your dog ran towards my dog and she defends herself, rest assured, we would be considered at fault. You’re putting MY dog in jeopardy because YOUR dog is unleashed.
The advantages of keeping your dog on a leash far outweigh the potential consequences. Plus, most cities and states have leash laws so you want to be a good neighbor and obey the rules and keep everyone safe.
Thank you for reaching out and happy adventures to you and your pooch! For the rest of you, thanks for reading and until next time. Stay safe and happy.
Brenda (& Maxine) Storms
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