We are so fortunate and grateful to live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Parks, beaches and hiking trails galore…and that’s just in the City limits, not to mention the surrounding areas! The options are endless when it comes to places to walk your dog. But…before you go letting Fido run off leash, let’s talk about some some basic unwritten off leash rules that you and your dog should be following:
- You MUST have 100% reliable recall. There is absolutely no exception to this rule in my mind. If you do not trust your dog to come back to you EVERY.SINGLE.TIME you call him, then Fido has no business being off leash. EVER. First and foremost this is a safety issue. If your dog is near a street or there is an immediate danger nearby, you must be able to reliably and quickly get him to come back to you. We were at Ft. Funston this past weekend and saw a woman who had lost her dog after her dog had run off. Luckily a group of us found the dog and it there was a happy ending to this story. All too often we see Facebook posts for dogs that have run off and sadly some of those stories don’t end so happily.
- Just because your dog may be friendly, doesn’t mean all dogs are friendly. Don’t let your off leash dog rush up to “greet” another dog that is on leash. This is a no no on many levels. Telling the other dog owner that “my dog is friendly” is not going to make this situation any better. The dog that is on leash might be dog aggressive, might be recovering from a surgery, sick, in training or a myriad of other things that you don’t know about. Respect the boundary that the dog owner has put up and keep your dog away from them. If your dog does not have a reliable heel off leash, then leash him back up until you have passed the other dog.
- Not everybody likes dogs. As hard as it is to believe, not every person thinks your dog is the cutest thing in the world and not everybody wants to have your dog run up to them or, even worse, jump up to great them. What if your dog jumps on a child or elderly person and scratches or knocks them over?
- Be responsible. As your dog’s guardian, you have a responsibility to keep him safe and also set him up for success. Stay off your phone, no texting or Facebook. Be aware of your surroundings. Learn what your dog’s energy and body language is saying. Your dog rushing up to another dog with teeth bared and hackles raised is not a friendly greeting in the dog world.
What if your dog does not have reliable recall or his off leash obedience isn’t the greatest? Lucky you…we can help! We have helped many owners gain 100% reliable recall and off leash obedience with their dogs. Give us a call or shoot us an email and ask us about our off leash obedience or recall training for your dog.