Dog off leash areas – love or hate?

June 18, 2016 at 6:00 am
Dog park 1

When I asked my social media followers this question I got a few responses all with a common theme. It seems more often than not, dog owners are finding their own secret places to take their dogs for a run off the leash. Dog owners also reported they had to monitor other people, other dogs, as well as their own dog when they did use a designated off leash area.

However, with a bit of consideration for others, everyone can enjoy these great shared spaces we are provided with.

Dog off leash areas are fantastic places to exercise your dog, if you keep your pooch under effective control. Some councils have their own specific legal definitions of this. Dogs need to be recalled when needed and stay in sight of their owners.

Just like in life for people, some dogs can’t have everything! If you have recently adopted or purchased a new dog, you should really take some time before taking your pet off the lead. Consider using a long leash with some treats, to practice your recall first. Likewise, if you dog is super reactive or aggressive towards other dogs, then you should consider speaking to a professional dog trainer for some further advice.

Just because the signs say “off leash”, doesn’t mean your dog can go wild!

Your dog’s behaviour is your responsibility. I’ve seen lots of “human” socialisation at dog parks, which is great, but it is so important to always keep an eye on your dog. You never know what they might try and eat off the ground or if they go to the toilet.

Here are some tips when exercising your dog at an off leash area:
• Ensure you carry a lead with you at all times
• Put your dog on lead, if you think your dog is getting too boisterous
• It is common courtesy to ask other dog owners if it is ok for your dog to say hello to their dog
• Toys are best kept at home if your dog tends to guard their toys
• Ensure your dog stays within sight of you at all times
• Know your own dog and what size playmates suit them
• Keep your dog’s focus on you, by playing with them
• Make sure you have lots of bags to pick up after your dog!

If you have a question for me about animal legislation, please get in touch via my social media pages. And keep an eye on the DOGSLife Blog for the answers!
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