If you own a dog, you own a leash. Nothing’s better for keeping a dog out of traffic, out of trouble, and out of your neighbor’s hair.
So it makes sense that you’d always hook up before you head out, right? Surprisingly, many loving dog owners (especially with the hunting dogs) who faithfully walk their dog on-leash each day follow a different set of rules when they hit the trail. The temptation is undeniable. Every dog loves to run free. On the trail, however, freedom puts them at risk for all sorts of trouble.
Why Keep Your Fully Trained, Well Behaved, Perfectly Lovable Family Dog On The Leash?

  • Safety
  • Stewardship
  • Good Manners
    Off Leash, even the best behaved dog can: alarm unsuspecting hikers around the bend
  • frighten children
  • jostle hikers on precarious paths
  • leave poop on the trail
  • encounter unfamiliar dogs off leash
  • intimidate hiking dogs on leash
  • spook horses sharing the trail
  • chase joggers, badger bikers
  • slobber on someone who doesn’t like dogs
  • collect ticks
  • startle snakes
  • trample fragile plant life
  • chase wildlife
  • be chased by predators
  • disturb nesting sites
  • stumble upon wild babies & protective mothers
  • corner critters in burrows
  • collect foxtails, thorns, and burrs
  • become dehydrated
  • suffer heat stress
  • pick up diseases from animal scat
  • leave a pile of bacteria(poo) foreign to the ecosystem
  • drink from natural water sources-rich in bacteria
  • scarf down the remains of an animal’s meal
  • snack on trash left by careless hikers
  • graze on poisonous plants
  • ingest tainted meat left for “coyote control”

Owners of dogs Off-Leash can’t always:

  • keep a close eye on their dog’s well being
  • monitor their dog for signs of physical distress
  • treat minor injuries immediately
  • protect their dog from environmental dangers
  • defuse anxious encounters with other dogs
  • pick up after their pet every time
  • pull their dog to safety in an emergency
  • contain a dog’s excitement for meeting new people
  • offer assurance to those startled by a loose dog
  • identify possible causes if their dog should become ill
  • share their dog’s discoveries along the trail
  • be alerted to dangers by their dog’s early warning system
  • expect their dog to behave as he would at home

No leash ever stopped a hiking hound from loving life. But time and again, a leash will protect your pal from the consequences of his own enthusiasm and natural curiosity.

Alice Blauch
alice@refugeeair.org

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