- Posted by Emma Witkowski
- On April 4, 2016
- 1 Comments
- cherry beach, dog-walking, dogs, off leash, on leash, Toronto
I’m going to get into politics with this one – leashing politics.
Making the message loud and clear before I get into anything: it’s important to keep your dog on leash in public spaces.
Now, here are some reasons why I think people want to have their dogs off leash, and some gentle alternatives for each.
Reason #1: Look Ma, no hands! Having your dog off leash is so simple. You are free to use your hands for whatever you want now. Texting, jazz hands. Whatever comes to you.
Gentle Alternative: All jazz hands-related activities can wait until you get home, and you can do everything else you need to with one hand. It may seem daunting but you’ll adapt after a few times around the block. And if a hands-free option really appeals to you, here’s a trade secret: buy yourself a carabineer to attach your dog’s leash to your pant belt loops.
Reason #2: I want my dog to be able to explore! Dogs love exploring and going on adventures. They’ve got things to smell and poles to pee on.
Gentle Alternative: If you want your dog to experience adventure in the big bad city, I’ve got some great news for you. There are specific parts of the city that are MADE for this very purpose, e.g. dog parks. And nature trails! And Cherry Beach! These places are dog heaven and I love you for bringing your dog there. Google exists and it will tell you where to go.
Cherry Beach. Picture your dog adventuring here.
Reason #3: My dog is trained and will stick by me.
Gentle Alternative: The bigger issue here is that other people’s dogs won’t stick by them. Keeping your dog on-leash protects your dog from other not-so-friendly dogs, or from bits of food or glass on the sidewalk. Also…there is always the possibility of something spooking your dog or they run after a squirrel or get in a fight with another dog, no matter how good their recall usually is.
Reason #4: I just don’t care.
Gentle Alternative: Oof. Hard lesson time – responsibility is a necessary part of dog ownership and that means caring and thinking about these kinds of things.
When it comes down it, we live in a big, beautiful city with millions of people and hundreds of thousands of dogs. We’re all in this space together and while you can never eliminate risks, keeping your dog on leash reduces them considerably.
Doggy owner etiquette. Super simple stuff.
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