To unleash the dogs or not? Thoughts on hiking.

Off leash dogs are a constant point of discussion and debate on every hiking group I have ever joined. There are folks who believe every dog needs to be leashed at all times, no matter what or where. There are others who unabashedly flaunt all “Dogs must be leashed” signs wherever they go, because their dogs are somehow special and no one should ever complain.

I am, as in many things, soundly in the middle.

My dogs, Steve especially, love to hike off leash, and I love to be able to give them the freedom.

There are rules, though.

Recalls are a must.

We only off-leash where we are unlikely to meet people, and I recall and leash dogs whenever we see someone. Steve’s not likely to run up to a stranger, but that stranger doesn’t know that. Just because I trust my dog doesn’t give me any reason to trust anybody else’s dogs.

I don’t want to negatively affect anyone else’s experience, so I leash. Easy.

I just find it respectful. Unfortunately there are too many people out there who are unable to recall their dogs who are just thoughtless and rude.

I like my dogs. That doesn’t mean I like all dogs. That especially doesn’t mean I want your wet muddy Golden jumping all over me. I don’t care how friendly he is.

And if I ask you to call your dog, I don’t want to hear that it’s ok, he’s friendly.

Call your dog.

And if your dog doesn’t have a reliable recall?

Keep them on a leash. It’s not that hard.

2 thoughts on “To unleash the dogs or not? Thoughts on hiking.”

  1. So glad you’re back! And I agree completely. I always hiked with Dahlia off leash, kept a leash on hand and if I saw or heard anyone coming, she was recalled (if she was more than a few feet from me, which was unusual) and leashed up. Always. And we hiked and visited various parks with no unwanted encounters (from HER at least) for years. Ben? He is iffy on recall, especially with other dogs. So he stays on a long line and is let off ONLY in places I know it won’t be a problem (e.g. the local off leash area or the place we vacation were dogs are allowed to be off leash the whole time). Know your dogs and your dogs limits and respect others! It shouldn’t be that hard and yet, for some reason, it IS for a lot of people.

  2. Amen! Not one, not two, not even three but a pack of four Vizslas ran towards me and a friend walking our dogs on Wednesday at a county park. Not one of them came when called by their multiple owners who appeared to be meeting for a play date or pack walk. And while I was stern with my request to “come get your dog,” despite the strain I did not swear. One of the females in the group had the nerve to call me mean. She is lucky that I am well medicated.

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