On-Leash vs. Off-Leash Dog Walking
Going “off-leash” is a growing trend and a hotly debated topic in the pet-parent community. While on-leash supporters say that leashes help your relationship with your dog, anti-leash people praise the benefits of letting your furry friend roam semi-freely through familiar areas. Being a responsible pet parent means knowing the pros and cons of off-leash adventures before making any kind of decision.
Pro: Leashes = discipline
For many dogs, when the leash goes on, it’s time to go out — and behave. Putting on a leash is a great way to remind your pup who’s walking whom and that you’re the one who makes the rules.
Con: Unleashed = relaxed
Some off-leash adventurers claim that their dogs are more relaxed during their walks because there is a different expectation. Some people feel that removing the leash from the equation changes the power dynamic from dog and master to companion and companion.
Pro: No roaming on a leash
If your dog is on a leash, she is less able to roam around and go off the beaten path. This helps ensure that she won’t encounter any flora, fauna or other things that could hurt her.
Con: All play and no leash make a tired dog
A dog who can roam to her heart’s content without being tethered by a leash is more likely to get her ya-yas out during a walk. By exploring and running free, she has a better chance to get out her excess energy.
Pro: A leashed dog is more polite
When your dog is on a leash, it becomes easier for you to control her interactions with other dogs and humans. No matter how friendly she is, there are going to be some people who don’t want to be approached by your dog (shocking, we know!). Also, an unleashed dog can make a leashed one feel uncomfortable. So if both parties have leashes on, the playing field is more leveled.
Con: An unleashed dog is a training opportunity
Some special training is needed in order to walk your furry friend off-leash. They’ll have to learn to instantly obey your commands of “come” and “heel” in case an emergency should occur. Doing this kind of repetitive and intense training with your pooch can help establish a trusting bond between the two of you.
When it comes to the great leash debate, ask your vet or other experts you know before taking the plunge — or deciding if it’s right for your furry friend at all.
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