Why I will NEVER walk my dog without a lead

I had been in two minds as to whether or not to train Idris to walk off the lead. But the more I thought about it, the more sense it made NOT to train him off the lead. I feel that my time is better spent training him to walk nicely on his lead, and these are my reasons why.

Control

This is the main one. At the end of the day, if I have him on a lead, whether it’s a 2 metre or a 20 metre lead I know that if anything happens I can get him back by my side quickly.

Not only that but I can direct him away from animals, or people that appear suddenly and out of nowhere.

We have access to a HUGE field, at the end of our road where we and others walk their dogs. I can remember being in that field right at the top by our entrance. Out of nowhere came a large breed dog, he was running towards us. If you had been there you’d have seen the colour drain from my face.

I saw no point in running, being pregnant I’d have no chance. Thankfully his owner came around the corner to find Idris and his dog playing nicely.

Here are my issues with that. The first, how on earth was I to know that this dog was as soft as a brush. How did I know that he hadn’t gotten loose and wasn’t going to attack, not only my dog, but me. There was no way of knowing. I got lucky.

The second thing, how on earth did that dogs owner know that my dog wasn’t dangerous? He could’ve come around that corner and his dog be in the clutches of mine.

Thankfully, Idris is very docile and all he wants to do is play. But as you can see, my lead is my way of having control over him at all times.

IMG_5572

Foreign objects

Idris, being a Labrador has a habit of picking up anything and everything in his mouth. He will pick up stones, leaves, empty sweet wrappers, and poop. Having him on his lead allows me to pull him away quickly from potentially dangerous objects lying in our path.

People throw litter, and if I see a coke can that’s been sliced and the sharp edges are sticking up I can direct him away and we can carry on.

Here in the UK, people have a habit of discarding drug paraphernalia, sometimes not even discreetly. But if Idris is running freely in the undergrowth and steps on something. I can’t do anything. At least on his lead I can make sure he sticks to our marked path, seeing everything that could be potentially dangerous to him.

Attacks

Not a subject that’s exactly nice to talk about, but unfortunately dog attacks do happen. More frequently than we think.

Idris has never touched a fly, he’s a bit nippy and likes moving fingers, but he is a playful dog and I will defend him and other dogs until the cows come home. BUT I firmly believe that any dog has the ability to turn.

If a dog feels threatened, they will defend themselves. It’s their instinct to protect themselves and their pack. Or in this case, their family.

If you do find yourself a victim, the best thing that you can do is drop your dogs lead. You should put yourself first. Your dog will defend themselves much better without being tethered. The second thing, if you have a pocket full of treats, take them out and scatter them as far as you possibly can. This might give you time to get yourself to a safe place. And hopefully for their owner to come and explain what the hell they are doing letting a dangerous dog roam free.

Wildlife

We have the countryside code in the UK. And if you live in  particularly rural area, you’ll most likely see lots of fields filled with livestock, and many of them will have a public right of way through them.

It’s in your best interests as a responsible owner to keep your dog on a lead when walking through a field with residents. If your dog causes livestock to become distressed, they don’t have to attack. Then you are breaking the law.

A farmer has every right to protect his livestock. Keep yourself and your dog safe. Keep them on a lead.

People

I can’t believe it, but as it happens there are people out there who are not dog people. And there are people who have genuine phobias of dogs. Why put them in distress by allowing your dog to approach them, even if it’s just for a sniff. Just like dogs, humans can be unpredictable. Keep your dog and your backside safe, by keeping them on a lead.

Idris loves children, but he does get over excited. He is nearing 30kg and could easily push over a 5 year old, not purposely but he doesn’t realise. Afterall he’s still just a baby. Having him on his lead and his harness allows me to keep all 4 feet on the ground, thus avoiding any incident with knocking someone over, child or adult.

Idris

Idris has had plenty of socialisation with people and other dogs. We send him to daycare at least once a week where he gets to play with all sorts of different breeds of dog. So it’s unlikely though NOT impossible that he would attack another dog.

I believe wholeheartedly that my dog is a safe and loving animal and would defend him to heaven and back. But I do feel that it is a better use of my time to train him to walk nicely on his lead rather then off it. Because it keeps him, myself and other dogs safe and able to walk without a problem.

Sophie

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