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Written by Molly, Pack Member

From the time we were children and begging our parents for a puppy best friend, we have heard the phrase “having a pet is a huge responsibility!” a countless amount of times. In fact, this phrase has been said so many times that perhaps it has lost all meaning for many people. From the new puppy parents to the more seasoned doggie guardians, we all want the best for our fur babies. It’s why we became pet parents in the first place! 

In this two-part blog series we will be talking about the importance of proper leash etiquette and the best way to bring our pup with us on adventures around town to ensure that they are safe and happy. Because regardless of the fact that our eyes tend to glaze over when someone says those words, it is a very, very important topic that absolutely needs to be talked about. 

Pets are a HUGE responsibility.

We are caring for another life. We are responsible for their well-being, both mentally and physically. Our pets are relying on us to be the best darn pet parents that we can be! And of course, making sure they are safe and secure at all times is part of that mission. One of the biggest and most common mistakes pet parents make is not having their dog under complete control when outside the comfort of their own home, and this risks the safety of the loose dog, as well as the other pets and humans it interacts with. 

Your dog could be the friendliest, happiest, most submissive dog that ever walked the earth, but they still need to be on a leash. Think about the other dogs you might encounter while strolling the downtown streets or just taking a walk around your neighborhood. Just like humans, individual dogs have different personalities and they could need a little bit of space from other four-legged friends or humans. They could be older and not so enthusiastic about a youngster’s energy level, or they could simply just be nervous around strangers. Dogs have situations that they are not comfortable with and they will respond in a way to make their discomfort known. This puts both dogs, the uncontrolled greeter and the unprepared receiver, in a dangerous situation. Having an off-leash dog bounding towards an unfamiliar dog in the distance could easily end poorly.

Leash Etiquette and Politeness in Public – Why It’s Important!

As a somber example of why leash laws are so important, one service dog was attacked by a “friendly” dog that was allowed to run off leash on a public bike path; all of the training this service dog received to be able to perform his job was erased in a matter of 30 seconds, and it took two years before he was able to overcome his extreme leash-aggression towards other dogs. 

On top of that, think about the humans you encounter while out in public with your dog. Leash laws protect people and help them feel safe in public and there are many reasons why these laws exist. Some individuals have a legitimate fear of dogs and may feel discomfort even when an uncontrolled small dog runs up to them. A decent-sized dog could easily leap up and overwhelm an unsuspecting child or senior citizen. People could have allergies, or they could simply just want to enjoy a morning jog without having a dog chasing them. 

Furthermore, dogs can sometimes be unpredictable and they may decide that they don’t like the human walking by with the baseball cap, even though the last thousand times you walked by a hat-wearing human your dog was fine. It is a sad reality that there are an abundance of cases where an uncontrolled dog has attacked an innocent person. Just in February of this year, a runner competing in a half-marathon race was bitten by an unleashed dog that belonged to spectators of the event. Everyone deserves to feel safe when out in public, and as dog owners, this starts with us having full control of our dogs at all times. 

The Importance of Being Mindful

Always consider the safety of your own pet. It can be tempting to drop the leash for a moment to dig up something in your bag, but one moment of complacency is all a dog needs to chase a squirrel on the other side of a busy street, sneak away to eat trash left in the grass, or eagerly dash towards an unprepared and unreceptive dog. Accidents do happen, and it’s best to just try and avoid them. Our goal is to provide the best life possible for our fur babies, and they are counting on us to take the necessary steps to keep them from harm’s way! 

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