If you have a dog who likes to pull, tug and be the alpha, you’re literally hanging by a thread (leash), trying to gain some control.
Or you could be one of those blessed pet parents who simply stroll beside their obedient dogs in perfect sync.
Perhaps you’re one of those parents who really struggle. From the moment your dog hears the rattle of the leash, they race around the house in their excitement, toppling everything in their path. You know they want to go, but they just won’t sit still long enough for you to clip the leash on. At some point, you must wonder, is it all worthwhile?
Is it all right not to use a leash? Or is it better to walk your dog on a leash? Let’s find out!
What Is A Dog Leash?
The use of dog leashes dates back to 4400 B.C. Legend has it that the Egyptians used leashes to train Mastiffs and other massive dog breeds to hunt. These ropes protected people against the aggressive and unpredictable behaviors of these pack dogs.
Well, not much has changed since then because we still use leashes for dog walks.
Also known as a lead, tether, or lead line, a dog leash is a chain fashioned out of rope, metal, leather and other sturdy materials that allow humans to restrict their pets’ movements in and around public places. Dog leashes are always clipped or attached to a dog’s collar or harness for proper grip.
There was a time when most dog leashes were of a standard make. Today, the pet industry has plenty of dog accessories—from short tab leashes for puppies to soft, braided leashes for a tighter grip—there are so many varieties that it’s dizzying! Some are even designed with loop handles and automatic, retractable features that allow your dog to run as far as 25 feet away from you.
With an increasing number of dog lovers in our midst, it is not surprising that leash technology has evolved to meet the needs of pets and their humans.
Why Do People Use Dog Leashes?
We’ve all seen videos of dog owners being jerked out the front door and across the yard, off porches, and onto slippery driveways by overenthusiastic pets. And while it is hilarious to watch, one just has to wonder how many purposes do leashes really serve and whether they’re necessary in our current society, given the overemphasis placed on pet discipline.
So, is it good to walk a dog without a leash? Let’s explore how leashes can benefit both you and your dog.
To Keep The Peace
This may come as a shock to some, but not many people like dogs or cats. Some people are downright terrified of animals, especially if they’ve faced pet-related trauma.
While you can’t force people to become pet-friendly, you should respect their choices by keeping your dog on a leash when you’re in a public place. Leashes also keep your pets from invading private property, thereby keeping the peace. Keeping your dog on a leash is a great way to abide by the “great good neighbor policy.
For Proper Introductions
No matter how friendly your dog is with you, you can never predict how it will react toward strangers. If your dog’s a jumper, an enthusiastic licker, playful nipper, awkward crotch smeller, even a growler, a panicked reaction from a stranger could set them off. A leash will make sure you are in control of your pet’s movements at all times.
With a slight pull on the leash, you can remove your dog from an undesirable situation calmly and decently. This ensures safe and secure interactions between dogs and other humans who are probably unfamiliar with your dog.
To Bond With Your Dog
There are several ways to bond with your dog, like playing and cuddling. But did you stop and consider that walking your dog on a leash is also a great bonding opportunity? Training your dog to walk on a leash urges them to listen and obey your commands. This will eventually open pathways for effective and clear communication. This discipline is crucial should a situation ever get out of hand.
ALSO READ: How to Ensure Your Dog Is Happy and Healthy
For Protection Against Diseases
If you live in a community with several other dogs, you might want to protect your pet from contracting diseases like rabies, distemper, or parvo. Dogs are super-sniffers, and they tend to poke their noses into other animals’ waste, carelessly tossed garbage, and more.
If your dog remains on a leash during walks, you can prevent this from happening, thereby keeping your dog safe from bacteria and infection-causing viruses.
For Overall Security
Dogs get startled by traffic and noise, and in the city, there’s plenty that will throw your pet off its track. Keeping it on a leash will protect it from vehicles and strays. Is it better to walk your dog on a leash? In many states, keeping a dog on a leash is the law, and it is illegal to let them run at large.
Even when you’re relocating, your dog might take a while to adjust to its new surroundings. Having it on a leash makes life so much simpler for both of you.
Is It Okay To Walk My Dog Without A Leash?
No matter how strong the “recall” or how obediently your dog behaves, during walks, anything can happen. This is why walking dog without leash can get you and your pet in trouble.
For the safety of your dog and others around you, it’s best to walk your dog on a leash.
Do dogs like being on a leash? Maybe not, and if they had their way, they’d probably chew the leash to pieces for good. But it’s the best way to ensure their safety.
When Can I Walk My Dog Without a Leash?
While it is mandatory to walk your dogs on a leash in most states, here’s when you can let your pet off the leash.
- In an enclosed and private play area
- In a pet play area where your dog has ample space to run and be free
- At a pet-friendly resort that hosts dogs and allows them to run at large
Having said that, it’s important to point out that even the most hyperactive dogs can be molded into peaceful and calm walkers when off the leash. It’s all about mastering the act of walking your dog without a leash. You also have to train your dog to behave in a park.
This merits the question, How do I train my dog to walk beside me without a leash?
Start by fastening a sturdy and comfortable collar around your dog’s neck. Even harnesses work nicely but avoid using choke collars and fancy braces because these varieties can be a bit dangerous with a leash. Remember, we’re training our pets, not instilling fear.
Then comes teaching appropriate commands and recalls. If you want to walk your dog without a leash, you should teach your dog to pay attention to your eyes, your expressions, and your commands. The most common commands include sit, heel, stop and walk. Of course, rewards and treats go a long way in making your intent clear.
ALSO READ: Pros and Cons of Starting an On-Demand Dog Walking BusinessU.S. States That Don’t Have Leash Laws
There are plenty of cities and states in America that are whole-heartedly pet-friendly. From designated pet parks to dog care centers, the U.S.A. does a lot for its pets and pet owners.
As far as leash laws are concerned, several U.S. states haven’t imposed statewide leash laws, but local committees have the power to initiate restraints and leash policies. If you live in or have recently moved to any of these states, you should learn about their local governments’ rules.
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- Rhode Island,
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
In A Nutshell
Laws and rules aside, the question remains—is it cruel to put dogs on a leash? It depends.
Leashes are essentially used for walks and for times spent outdoors. Misusing the leash to confine dogs at home for prolonged periods is unfair. Also, excessive control in the form of aggressive pulling and tugging can hurt your dog.
On a brighter note, your pets look forward to their daily walks, irrespective of whether they are leashed or not. So, is it better to walk your dog on a leash? Yes, leash walks are fun, safe, and a good way to spend time with your lovable pet.