Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Off-Leash Dogs Drive Me Nuts

I like taking the dogs for a walk through our neighborhood. It's still too hot to do our winter routine of 4-5 miles, but the past two months of rain has cooled it off enough for a mile walk in the late evening...until the mosquitoes come back, that is. You'd think the biggest risks in walking through a rural neighborhood would be oncoming traffic (careless drivers) and watching out for bikers/pedestrians. If only! The biggest threat in my neighborhood is a slew of off-leash dogs.
Hey, off-leash dog owner, get your dog!!

In case this is the first post of mine you've read (shame on you, catch up!), I have two dogs - Axle and Remi. Axle is very protective of me, and he's leash reactive to other dogs. There's the occasional dog that he takes to (usually Lab-a-likes), but most of them are a threat in his eyes. He'll bow up, snarl and strain at the leash. For some reason, the loose dogs in my neighborhood treat this display as an open invitation to play. 

What part of "I'm going to bite the sh*t out of you!" sounds like "Let's play!"?????

Are they stupid???

I'd like for your dog not to have a booboo, so please, keep them in your own yard.

Apparently so. If I'm lucky (or unlucky), they're followed by a frazzled owner, haplessly crying out for their sweet nookums munchkins to return to the safety of their own yard. Sometimes, they also display confusion and/or anger that I am practically screaming at their dog to "GO HOME," "GO AWAY," or "LEAVE IT." By golly, people, I'm trying to save your dog's cute face. Of course, if Axle ever did take a chunk out of one of those imps, he'd be the one on trial. 

Our human always tries to be responsible!

How is that fair? My dogs are vaccinated, spayed/neutered, and on a leash. When they are outside, they were in a fence. I get that not everyone can afford a fence, but there's other options. You can keep your dog indoors and take them outside on a leash. You could set up a trolley/cable run if you had to, although I'm not very fond of tie-outs. You could also kennel them when you can't supervise them. Either way, letting a dog run loose through your yard and the neighborhood is hazardous - to your dog and to others.

This rant brought to you by the Pomeranian that nearly got ran over, the brindle mixed breed that bit Remi's leg and nearly got himself bitten, and the big black dog with her miniature cohort that scared Remi so bad I had to carry (yes, CARRY) her home while I kept a tight grip on Axle. 

Have you had any run-ins with off-leash dogs? Discuss!


  1. First - so glad to see a new post! It's been awhile.
    Second - I used to be one of those "off-leash dumbass dog-owners" and have since reformed. I read a ton of blog posts similar to this and realized that there are real concerns for having my dog off-leash. Since my reform, my dog has been attacked 3 times while we were in the neighborhood on leashed walks and has since become reactive towards other dogs. It's unfortunate that we're now dealing with the consequences of other irresponsible dog owners and I'm ever-so-grateful that Charlie never created an issue with other dogs while she was off-leash in the past.
    I guess the only thing to do is to continue educating dog owners about the serious issues that off-leash dogs cause and hope they'll also convert.

    Heather recently posted on www.HikingWithHeather.blogspot.com

    1. I grew up in the country, so none of my dogs were ever really restrained, at least not for long periods of time. When I moved to my own place, it became quickly apparent that a loose dog is a bad thing - and can lead to the loss of your dog forever...so I guess you could say I'm reformed, too!! I don't know anyone that is born knowing all the ins and outs and what to dos of owning and being around dogs. It's a non-stop learning process, that's for sure! The moment we claim to know it all is the very moment we know the least.

      I'm hoping seeing the show Axle puts on for them combined with my crazy hand gestures and "go home dog" vocalizaitons will encourage them to do something different. :)

  2. Love it! My neighborhood is not terribly bad about this thank God, but the few times we have encountered people walking their dogs through the neighborhood off leash I really want to scream explicatives at them. My other favorite is when my neighbors are throwing block parties and the dogs are invited. I love that they include their dogs, but for heaven's sake keep them on a leash! My Haleigh Anne (aka Axle's doppelganger) is not leash aggressive, but is terrified of strange dogs and has "fear aggression". Sadly to dumb dogs who's owners obviously think are just too stupid to be a threat are also too stupid to understand her "Back the fuck off" bark. I've had to literally pick her up because a small dog came charging after her. Crisis averted and I learned the lesson of you don't know your own strength until faced with an emergency, but still irritated that people can be so grossly irresponsible and disrespectful. And the most frustrating part is that yes, our dogs would be the ones blamed. Fortunately for us we have strict leash laws in our county so the irresponsible owners could not hold us financially or legally responsible. But I'm sure they'd get on FB and tell the whoooooole neighborhood about my vicious dog and completely leave how how irresponsible they were and that it was actually their fault to begin with. Maybe we should start posting fliers around our neighborhoods about how to be a responsible pet guardian. Or post pictures of offender dogs - maybe then they'd get the hint :)

    1. I call Axle leash reactive, but it probably would be classified fear aggression by a behavior expert. If the dog doesn't approach him, he's merely interested in the who-what-where-how of the dog in the distance, but the moment the dog stiffens his/her body language, the nice act is over.

      OMG, you had to pick Haleigh Anne up?? Hope you didn't have to carry her far - that's a heavy load!!

      And you're absolutely right - it happens in news stories all of the time. I really liked this article from Dogster: http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/dog-health-small-dogs-suicide-missions-use-leashes-ask-a-vet

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