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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My Advice: Put a Leash On It!

"What is so hard about keeping your dog on a leash?" I keep asking myself every single time I see a dog out in a public place not on a leash. I KNOW in Los Angeles there is a leash law, but almost EVERY time I go on a walk with my dogs, we see an off-leash dog, more often than not, RUNNING FULL TILT STRAIGHT AT US!

>>>OFF-LEASH DOGS AND MY FEISTY FIDO DON'T MIX

I LOVE my do
g Brunswick, but he is what Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D. and Karen B. London, Ph.D. call a "Feisty Fido", i.e. a leash aggressive dog. What that means is that, when he was a puppy, he was not properly socialized to be around other dogs and people outside of the home on a leash.

We got Brunswick when he was an adult, so we have no idea how he was socia
lized as a puppy. I have a theory that he was a "grandma's dog": he was the companion of an eldery woman who had grandchildren. He stayed home, was visited by the children and grandchildren of the owner and didn't go out on walks or to the dog park. Now that he lives with us, he has greater exposure to the outside world and sometimes gets a little nuts when on a leash; barking, lunging and growling when he sees other dogs and certain people on our daily walks. We are working with ANIMALOGIST Jan Naud to help correct this behavior, but this is a process that takes lots of time, patience and practice.

So,when a strange dog comes RUNNING FULL TILT AT US, I'm not thinking, "Oh, look, a playful pup wants to come and meet Brunswick." I'm thinking, "Oh shit, Brunswick is going to freak out, get overly protective and a huge dog fight i
s going to break out!!!"

Not to mention my own fears about big dogs get reactivated; yes, I am afraid of big dogs because I was bit in the butt by a standard poodle when I was grade school aged.

Did I forget to mention that those dogs, off-leash, running full tilt at us, are almost always large breed dogs?!?!?! Or that I walk my dogs using a mobility scooter (like Heather in this photo from the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind website) so I am right down on "dog level" and easily accessed should the approaching pooch decide to take a nip at me instead?!?!?!

>>>RESPONSIBLE OWNERS KNOW: TOP 10 Reasons to Latch That Leash
  1. It is the law. Period. Don't like the law? Work to change it, don't break it!
  2. Dogs get distracted. If your dog isn't on a leash, you won't be able to stop your dog from chasing that squirrel, cat, bicycle, skateboarder, etc., etc., etc. into the street and into the path of an oncoming car. I believe that there is no such thing as 100% recall---for those of you who "think" you can train your dog so that this will "never" happen.
  3. Dogs love putting things in their mouths. We recently went walking and someone left two Hershey's kisses on an outdoor ledge where our dogs could get at them. Chocolate is poisonous to dogs. No leash = no control over a situation like this.
  4. Dogs do not respect wildlife. An off-leash dog will harass and can kill wild animals. An off-leash dog can also be attacked and injured by wildlife, like a rattlesnake or mountain lion. You can read more about it here: Breaking Leash Law Means Death for Wildlife.
  5. Polite dog owners only let their pooches potty on the parkway (the area between the sidewalk and the street). An off-leash dog will go potty just about anywhere, including your neighbors' front yard.
  6. Not everyone likes dogs. A dog on a leash, under the control of their owner, is easily kept away from or removed entirely from the presence of someone who dislikes or is fearful of dogs.
  7. An off-leash dog can be picked up by Animal Control and the owner is subject to citation and fines. Not to mention that being off-leash makes it easier for your dog to simply run away or be stolen from you when you're not looking. You can read more here: In the Doghouse: A Leash-Law Miscreant's Day in Court.
  8. An off-leash dog is more likely to injure a person.
  9. An off-leash dog is more likely to be involved in a fight with another dog.
  10. An off-leash and unfixed dog is more likely to become a parent. Talk about a double whammy! By the way, in Los Angeles there is a MANDATORY spay and neuter law that is probably being ignored as well.

>>>KUDOS TO POPSQUIRE!

Though I am not a big fan of celebrity blogs, I love how Popsquire has posted pictures of celebrity dog owners on his blog calling out celebs who don't keep their pooches on a leash and praising those who do.

According to Popsquire, Responsible Celebrity Pet Owners include:

Natalie Portman
Jerry O’Connell
Minnie Driver
Brooke Burke
Rachelle LeFevre
Naomi Watts

Oh yeah, and "Like Popsquire always says: If you like it, put a leash on it!"



References:
Why Put Your Dog On a Leash
The Leash Law
Important Reasons to Leash Your Dog


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