Off leash

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carrie_02
Posts: 37
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2016 9:03 pm

Off leash

Post by carrie_02 » Tue Apr 26, 2016 5:18 pm

What are your thoughts on letting dogs off leash (in an area that is not fenced)? Do you think this is ever safe or that no amount of training is good enough?

(I am not planning on doing this- at least not anytime at all soon- but I'm curious what your opinions are. Thanks.)

mansbestfriend
Posts: 301
Joined: Mon May 20, 2013 7:35 am
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: Off leash

Post by mansbestfriend » Tue Apr 26, 2016 7:12 pm

How long is a piece of string? :) It would depend on local laws, the dog, how well trained it is, the owner, environment, other dogs, people, animals, traffic, etc.

Some dogs 'naturally' stay close to their owners' legs, many wander, some take off and never come back. Some are mostly lovely dogs that turn into animal killers at the flick of a switch. Every dog is different.

Before going off-leash I first ask myself if it's legal, and if it's safe.
:)
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single Sit.

Fundog
Posts: 3874
Joined: Wed Dec 03, 2008 8:31 am
Location: A little gambling town in the high desert

Re: Off leash

Post by Fundog » Tue Apr 26, 2016 7:17 pm

You mean when hiking out in the wilderness and no one else is around, no cars, no bicycles, no other dogs? Sure. I let Annie off all the time. She can keep up at her own pace, stopping to smell things here and there. She stays close by-- within 50 meters or so, has excellent recall, and does not bother livestock or wildlife.

Dottie, on the other hand, is a hooligan, does not stay close, and has next to zero recall in open spaces. That being said, I have from time to time let her run free, being prepared to wait for two or three hours for her to return. She does ALWAYS return, to the place she saw me last. But most of the time, she is kept on lead.
If an opportunity comes to you in life, say yes first, even if you don't know how to do it.

JudyN
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Location: Dorset, UK
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Re: Off leash

Post by JudyN » Wed Apr 27, 2016 2:37 am

There's probably a UK/US divide over this as in the UK dogs are allowed off leash in most open spaces. For many dogs, regularly going off leash and being able to run is very important for their mental health. I would be reluctant to adopt a dog if I thought it could never be let off leash.

Yes, there's a risk. For example, I often walk Jasper in 24 acres of woods and it's possible that we could encounter a deer (a situation in which he effectively has no recall once he's off) that heads for and crosses a busy road. I accept it could go wrong, but then the first time I let my children cross the road on their own, or go to an all-night party, there was a risk too. I'm continually weighing up the risks: deer? roads? sheep? other dogs he might take against? picnics? children? cliffs? barbed wire? car parks? I take into account his normally good recall, his lack of recall if deer/rabbits are involved, his stamina, and the fact that he always comes back to me once he's exhausted or has lost the prey. Then I apply some complicated formula to decide whether to let him off or not. A different person would be more or less risk-tolerant, but so far (he's 6) there's only been one time he's had an injury that required vet treatment that could/should have been avoided (too many deer, too much barbed wire) - and he never goes off lead in that place now!
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

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Nettle
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Re: Off leash

Post by Nettle » Wed Apr 27, 2016 3:41 am

I'm in UK and my dogs are only ever on lead where it is unsafe, for instance near roads, railway lines, cliffs, where there are deer, and so on. We have plenty of rural open spaces where it is okay for them to run. Nothing is ever 100% but reasonable precautions bring the odds down sufficiently for me. I do spend a lot of time in training.
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

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Erica
Posts: 2697
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2011 9:35 pm
Location: North Carolina

Re: Off leash

Post by Erica » Wed Apr 27, 2016 7:39 am

I'm in the US. Delta gets lots of off-leash walks in the winter, but once it gets warm enough for snakes and ticks we stick to on-leash walks on paved trails. (He can walk on the grassy edge; I just hate getting tick bites and things like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever aren't uncommon here. He has tick meds that supposedly kill the tick before it can spread these to him. I wish I did too :lol: ) Additionally, the grass on the edges of pavement is usually kept shorter, and it's easier to see a copperhead in grass than in leaf litter.

Our off-leash walks are in places with few other dogs, good visibility, and not near roads. Delta has a very strong recall.
Delta, standard poodle, born 6/30/14

Fundog
Posts: 3874
Joined: Wed Dec 03, 2008 8:31 am
Location: A little gambling town in the high desert

Re: Off leash

Post by Fundog » Wed Apr 27, 2016 7:57 am

Adding to what Judy and Nettle just said, in the US, and especially in my region, I must consider other dangers, such as coyotes, cougars, and venomous snakes. A bit farther north we have to consider bears, and even wolves! And skunks. They look cute, but the consequences of your dog intersecting with one are not at all pleasant. Annie knows this from personal experience. :lol: And Dottie has had to outrun a pair of coyotes after stumbling upon a den. :shock: All of this has not stopped us from hiking in the rugged wilderness.
If an opportunity comes to you in life, say yes first, even if you don't know how to do it.

master2

Re: Off leash

Post by master2 » Wed Apr 27, 2016 8:09 am

I'm in the UK my dogs have incounted a few things ( I'm in Cheshire) .

Watson recently had his paw injured in a metal animal trap ( still trying to find out if that is legal or not) then there's my neighbours cat , and I being serious this cat keeps jumping in our garden when the dogs are already out there and he attacks Sherlock , Sherlock has several cat scratches on his face :x . even there own garden is not safe.

Then there's geese , we use to walk in a park that had a lovely lake that I walked my my dogs near on lead and this geese came running towards both my dogs and the dogs were pulling on the lead to run away , even I started running away some of the other dog walkers were laughing at me and my dogs as we were trying to escape an angry geese. :lol: :oops:

I normally let mine off in an enclosed area like a tennis court. Both have great recall but Im the one who gets to panicked.

carrie_02
Posts: 37
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2016 9:03 pm

Re: Off leash

Post by carrie_02 » Wed Apr 27, 2016 9:52 am

Thank you to everyone for replying:)

ScarletSci
Posts: 463
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2013 3:44 pm

Re: Off leash

Post by ScarletSci » Wed Apr 27, 2016 11:21 am

Same as the others, I assess the risks before I consider off lead, especially if we're anywhere near a cliff - every dog I've seen an article about that's gone over a cliff has been either a collie or a Springer! So I won't risk it. But I don't worry about if there's a fence in general countryside, I trust our recall is pretty excellent, and even in enclosed parks, there are exit ways that often lead to roads.

I would be much much more careful about it if my dogs didn't have such a good recall, or if I were in the US and there were dangers like snakes!

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