While I wholeheartedly support being able to walk dogs responsibly off lead, there are times where leads are necessary for safety or are just common sense. It does my head in to see dog owners, not only not carrying leads at all on walks, but also with dogs with no collars or harnesses and absolutely nothing to get hold of in an emergency.
There is no amount of training that can prepare you and your dog for any and every eventuality, so the following will help keep your dog safe:
1. Always attach your dog to a lead in car parks or when walking along roads.
2. Always have a harness or collar on your dog which you can attach a lead to when the need arises.
3. Check what is ahead or around you before allowing your dog off lead.
4. Always have your dogs on lead when they exit your vehicle.
5. Have one lead per dog - this may seem obvious, but clearly it isn't to some who walk 4 dogs and carry one lead!!
6. If you are not VERY sure that your dog will not interfere in a situation that could be dangerous for them or others (a reactive dog passing by, a person clearly afraid of dogs, a picnic spread, mountain bikers, horses or wildlife passing by), simply put your dog on lead until the situation has passed to avoid a problem developing.
There really is a lot to be said for an ounce of prevention. I cannot count the number of times we have had to stop our car and wait while someone chased their dog around the roads in our neighbourhood in an attempt to get them out of the way, because they thought it was okay to walk dogs loose along the road. On one particular occasion, after his 4th such encounter for the week, my husband very "sweetly" said to the flustered owner "You know, there's this thing - it's called a lead - maybe you should try it sometime". 😉