What’s the big deal about on or off leash?

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“Be free, my friend!” Letting your dog run freely without a leash is for his own good. But have you fully considered the risk of walking your dog off leash at all times is injured, lost or death?

Here it comes the fact: A lost dog is reported every week, yes, every week and obviously they are not on leash.

Walking a dog off leash can be a great bonding experience between humans and dogs. No doubt it’s also great for your dog to explore the world with all of his senses, socialise while burning off energy. What we should do is to judge where and when to do it, usually based on the below factors:

Location and traffic

How crowded the place you are going to walk your dog? Is your walkway separated by fence from the road traffic? Most of the pedestrian walkway can barely fit 2 or 3 people walking side by side, and nowadays, with people constantly glue their eyes on their mobile phones, your dog at far-below eye level could be invisible to others. How to keep your dog safe with all these road and human traffic off leash? For example, a chihuahua walking off leash with his human on a two-meter wide pedestrian path in Wan Chai is simply dangerous.

Potential distractions and the obedience skill level of your dog

Does your dog come back to you immediately when you call? Does he even stop at what he is doing to react to your call? We always wish dogs will do it but let’s not forget the reality that a dog’s senses are heighten by new environment and when he is excited wandering, your voice, in the midst of many other stimulus, is less powerful.

We also shall ask ourselves if there are tons of potential distractions. How would your dog react to car’s horn, greetings from other dogs, the proximity of one another? Recall training is very important because when your dog is let loose, you would never out-run your four-legged friend. If you are unsure or you know your dog can be easily distracted, is it worth bearing the risk of walking your dog off leash?

There are 24 country parks, many trails and dog parks, a couple of beaches without a lifeguard and other enclosed areas are safe having your dog roam off leash without worries about putting him at risk, narrow pedestrian walkway next to high car traffic is not.

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