The Risk of an Off-Leash Dog
If you are a person who walks their dog off lead anywhere other than at off leash dog areas, this is for you! Even if your dog is the friendliest dog on the planet, not every dog is - and that could be a huge risk for your dog, and a huge setback for the on-lead dog that your dog runs up to. If you have ever been out enjoying a walk and had an off-lead dog run up to you this is for you too… Why, when my dog isn’t a risk? There are so many reasons to put your dog on lead but here are a few important ones!
If nothing else, it is the law! That’s right, here in Australia it is illegal to have your dog off lead unless you are in an off-lead dog area. This is the government trying to protect everyone! There can be some pretty hefty fines for Councils too if you get caught. This law has occurred because of past problems as stated in this article.
Not everyone on the planet loves dogs like we do, and some people are terrified of dogs! I met a lady recently who was bitten by a little fluffy dog when she was younger and now is absolutely petrified of dogs of any size! Regardless of how cute your dog is or how little it is, your dog can still cause fear or discomfort to someone else… Many people of different nationalities and religions are also not comfortable with dogs.
A friendly dog running up to a fearful dog is likely to not end well! We are often trying to help clients with their dogs who may be lead reactive or aggressive and they are trying to help their dog feel calm and safe on their walks. Their biggest fear is being out walking their dogs as responsible dog owners with their leads on and having an off-lead dog run up to their dog! A dog that is on lead and reactive or fearful that has an off-lead dog approach can no longer choose the option of flight so therefore could revert to fight. Now bear in mind if that the off lead dog is yours and it gets injured or injures the on lead dog or any humans involved you may be legally responsible and liable for all medical / vet bills as you were the one breaking the law initially!
LET’S VISUALISE – I have a big dog on lead walking along the footpath and your little fluffy dog is off lead and runs up to my dog and yaps in its face. If my dog bites your little fluffy - That Is Your Fault and You are Responsible since you have chosen to not follow lawful practice! Now if you are thinking or have ever said the words “its O.K my dog is friendly” that is great but my dog may not be and I am trying to keep everyone safe and managing my situation and dog the best way I can while still exercising and stimulating my dog…
If you have ever let your dog continue to approach someone’s dog after they have told you their dog is not friendly or doesn’t want to play with your dog because you think their dog just needs to get to know your dog (trust us, this happens a lot!) you are only pushing this dog further in the wrong direction by allowing it to practice and rehearse these aggressive behaviours and learn that dogs don’t listen when I give warnings and lunge so I will have to try harder next time to get a dog out of my space! You in turn will make it that much harder for the owner of that dog to teach their dog what a good rehearsal of walking past a dog looks like! This Is Not Helpful!!!
If your friendly dog who doesn’t have a bad bone in its body was to get bitten by a dog this could cause your friendly dog to be a little more defensive and not so accepting of new dogs and change their thought process to I am going to get you before you get me like the last time which in turn have them start to show aggressive behaviours when dogs approach. Things to remember if it all goes belly up..
If an off lead dog runs up to you and that dog or your dog attacks, your options were limited.
Always try to take pictures or video, get witness names and numbers.
Call your local council and report the incident
Remain calm, getting worked up will not help the situation
Get as much information from the people/ dog involved and any witnesses that may be around
Seek medical / vet help if necessary and take any photos of injuries for report
Please on behalf of so many people, please keep your dog on lead! To keep everyone safe your dog included! And for everyone’s enjoyment of the beautiful outdoors! We are all supposed to have Rights! So you if you are not following laws and bylaws aren’t you now also taking away others rights?.