Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pooches: Dogs Off Leash

It seems that many of our neighbors have recently purchased or adopted new dogs. Though it is nice for the landscape of our neighborhood, many have not bothered to follow simple rules or even the law. There is a lot going on in our neighborhood with 2 busy streets and plenty of pedestrians and other dogs, yet we have two neighbors that insist on walking their dogs through the sidewalks of Chicago off leash, despite the fact that the city has leash laws and signs posted everywhere reminding dog owners of this law.
This is especially dangerous because leashed dogs will feel threatened by unleashed dogs who rush them.This can be really dangerous for the dogs and the people walking them. Even though several of us have confronted these dog owners about having their dogs off leash, they always have the remark that dogs were not meant to be on leash.
We have become good friends with our beat cops, because they have dogs and have had bad experiences with dogs off leash. However, we know there is a lot going on in the city and that dogs off leash has the lowest priority. Lucky for us, we've been able to avoid them since we can hear our neighbors several blocks away because they are always yelling after their dogs. We think talking to the police may have worked, because for awhile they were using a leash; it was actually quite comical because I saw the guy running and I couldn't figure out why. Then I saw he couldn't control his dog on leash. So now they're back to walking off-leash again where their dogs are nearly 1/2 block ahead of them. We even witnessed a scare, when one of the neighbor's dog ran after another random dog off leash right into traffic. After that we thought that it would change their ways, but they still walk their dogs off leash without any control, which can be quite burdensome since we have to cross the street or wait behind the fence to avoid them. What are your experiences with dogs off leash?

36 comments:

Mango said...

Yuh, I know what you mean. I get scared sometimes when I am on the leash and know I can't protect momma or run away if I have to but I am always on my leash anyway when I leave the property. Those crazy off leash doggies make me insane! What is wrong with humans?

Slobbers,
Mango

Two Crazy Coaches said...

I don't know how people can have their dogs off leash. I know for us, I'd lose the dogs since they're crazy like that, but it'd also be breaking the law. People are just clueless and asking for trouble. I hope these people learn soon!

Zona said...

That is not only inconsiderate but also dangerous!! It sounds an accident waiting to happen. :(

Wags,
Zona

Erika said...

With Koda and Sophie it depends on where we are. They are always on a leash in town, unless I spot a field that Koda can play in and then he is allowed off because he voice commands so well. We do live in the country so it does make a big difference as to on-leash or off-leash. But Indy who lives with my Dad in the city is always walked on leash although we do sometimes let him off to play in the school fields but he also voice commands well.

Jennie said...

We have this problem from time to time, but I have yet to hear someone excuse it by saying that "dogs were not meant to be on leash." I feel that all dogs deserve off leash time, but the middle of a busy city isn't the place for it. I walk my dogs off leash only in safe, enclosed areas which are free of dogs I don't know.

Keep in contact with the police about it! Here in Philadelphia, the PSPCA is required to respond to any complaint of an off-leash dog, so if I can get a home address for the offender, I will usually put in a complaint. You can pair that with an offer to teach their dogs to behave as well as yours on leash - maybe they'll take you up on it!

road-dog-tales said...

We're not fond of leashes, BUT if we are anywhere outside our own fenced property or a safe play area, they go ON. We're pretty sure we could never live in a big city ;)

The Road Dogs

Two Pugs in a Pod said...

Oh god, that makes me so crazy! (I live in Chicago too.) I've witnessed quite a few dog fights and altercations between people over this. It just doesn't make sense to me...aren't they at all worried about their dogs' safety? Um, hello...TRAFFIC? And when their dog approaches you, they always call out "Don't worry, he's friendly!" Well, that's nice for you...but what if mine aren't??? They especially think this is ok with us, since I have two small dogs who don't pose much of a threat. Unfortunately, my male is VERY protective of his mama on the leash, and not very good with big dogs...it's just not a good situation all around. Hmph. (Cute blog by the way!)

EmilyS said...

I hate to add to your paranoia: but typically when an offleash dog runs up to a pit bull, it responds as most pit bulls will (with a firm "get out of my face" or a "oh yeah, you and what man's army"). If a scuffle ensues, it will be the pit bull that gets blamed for any damage.

So whatever it takes, prevent this moron's dog from running up to yours. Perhaps you need to start carrying a walking stick?

Corbin said...

I'm always on a leash outside of my house and fenced yard. Mom carries this stuff called SprayShield - you can order it online or get it at petsmart. It's a training tool also used to deter agressive, or just plain stray, off leashed dogs. It's 99% water and 1% citrus and not harmful to dogs. Just scares them away. We always walk with it, just because. We also know that even if I'm on a leash and some dog attacks me who is off a leash, I will most likely be the one who gets in trouble for fighting back since I'm a pitbull...
-Corbin

Maggie said...

Oh boy. That is one of my biggest irritants. My Lucas is an insecure dog who reacts very badly when he gets frightened. When I'm walking him (always on leash), and an off-leash dog sprints up to us, he aggresses. Not good. Plus, I've worked so hard with him to be able to do appropriate on-leash greetings that these incidents make me crazy because it sets him and his confidence level back just a little bit each time! So frustrating. I hope those people learn, especially if the police step up and say something - or better yet, issue them a ticket!

agajdeczka said...

Chick and I HATE this!! He is wonderful with dogs in a controlled setting, but being rushed by an off-leash dog really sets off his protective and reactive side. Your post especially worries me because we have always felt save in the city (DC in our case), where people tend to leash their pets. Now I'll have to be vigilant in town, too!

Aleksandra
loveandaleash.wordpress.com

AC said...

Wow, the story about your neighbor is a bit dumbfounding. I'm again amazed at how out of touch our fellow dog owners can be.

My funniest (in hindsight) off leash encounter was when a toy poodle rushed Kona, barking and biting at her legs. This dog weighed only a few pounds and (bless her patience) Kona flattened her ears and gave the best "WTF" look I've ever seen on a dog.

rescuedinsanity.com said...

I remember you telling me about your neighbours before in a comment. I still have a hard time believing they would take such risks in such a busy urban area. Are they not at least worried about cars?

There is a woman in my neighbourhood who walks her older golden retriever off-leash. I've never seen it on one. It was a problem at first because he would run across the road to meet my dog and when she was more reactive this would often cause major problems. Now that Shiva is okay with most dogs approaching her it's fine, and he's a big sweetie, but I still worry he will get hit by a car one day. She doesn't seem to have any recall with him.

There is another woman who walks a shih-tzu off-leash but this situation doesn't worry me nearly as much. The little guy ignores all other dogs and has an excellent recall. He's never far from her side. While there are laws in my city about leashes, I don't have a problem with off-leash dogs if they are under this kind of control.

Kate@TwentySixToLife said...

It scares and infuriates me when I see dogs off leash. There are a few people in our neighborhood who do this and I just don't understand it. We've been rushed a couple times by off leash dogs, and now we have no problem reaming out the other dog's owner each time.

The worst though was just two weekends ago when we were at a huge adoption event. T and I were volunteering with a bully rescue, and were right by the akitas and the greyhounds (think lots of large, prey driven dogs in a stressful situation), when some doofus strolled by with his 5 pound chi-mix OFF LEASH right in front of all the dogs. T called him out in front of everyone and I walked up to him to tell him to get his dog before he got hurt. Everyone was fuming and I think the guy was embarrassed enough that he kept his dog on leash the rest of time. It was ridiculous though. I just can't imagine what he was thinking.

brooke said...

Ugh. Some people really shouldn't have dogs.
A neighbor in our building takes her two pitties for potty breaks off leash, but they are both older, slow moving dogs so they are never far from her and they listen fairly well.
We will sometimes let Darwin go out for her potty breaks off leash, if it's really late at night, and she's really tired and won't run off. But most of the time we keep her on leash unless we're at the park.

accordingtogus.com said...

Gah!! This is my biggest pet peeve about dog owners. When Gus was a puppy, we were charged at by a much larger dog who was off-leash. The owner didn't care at all that it was snapping at us...he didn't even jog to catch up to his dog.

The worst part about it is that it now makes me fearful when I'm walking Gus alone. I do my best not to project my anxiety on to Gus, but it's difficult.

I sure hope your neighbor wises up and uses a leash!

Shauna (Fido and Wino) said...

Last night a woman with a little dog on a flexi leash came rushing up to my dogs. He wasn't off leash... but she was doing nothing to real him in and it totally riled my dogs up.

Why oh why oh why...

Shawnee the Shepherd said...

Oh, there are so many irresponsible people out there that just make me GRRRRRRRRR! Bad, bad pet parenting! People like that are the direct cause of "NO PETS ALLOWED" places.

Ettel, Charlie Poodle, and Emma Pitty said...

I posted about a really scary encounter I had with an off leash Husky here in NYC a few weeks ago. Though it was more of an escaped loose dog than a dog being walked off leash.

I live in a pretty suburban/not yet gentrified/warehouse-y part of NYC and have been known to walk Charlie off leash sometimes (gasp) but not since he ate some crap off the street when I wasn't looking and ended up in the ER. He is remarkably responsive to verbal cues and trained to not walk into the street and wait on curbs until I release him to cross, but I haven't done it in a while. I could never walk Emma off leash (or even bother trying to train her for it) because she eliminates in the street, and that's just a recipe for disaster. We do have a pretty awesome park near us that allows dogs off leash pretty much all the time, so they get plenty of offleash fun, no need to risk life and limb on the street!

T2 - My life with pit bulls said...

Just reading your post put a huge knot in my stomach. I really don't understand why people who have no control over their dogs and no connection with them (the ones who have to yell over and over again because their dogs have learned that they don't have to listen to their people) are the most likely people to unleash their dogs in unprotected environments. Well, I do - it's easy and they're lazy. But still.

The only guy I ever saw properly walk his dog off leash in the city was clearly marching to a different drummer, but he and his dog worked like a machine. He was always talking - on his phone, to the dog or to people he passed. And through the constant (and I really mean constant) chatter, he would shoot his dog the most minute commands and his shepherd would respond so comfortably that you knew they had their routine down perfectly. I didn't even know this was what was happening until one time I passed them while the guy was on the phone and without even excusing himself to the other caller, he said, "To the right." to his dog and his dog veered right so that Toni I could pass on his left. It was unreal. After that, I could see from a mile away when he gave his dog a command and what it was - it was beautiful to watch. That is the only guy in Chicago...maybe anywhere...that I give a pass to for off leash walking.

Traci said...

Ugh - owners who allow their dogs to walk or roam off-leash drive me insane!!!! The street we're on is off an extremely busy street - you'd think it was a freeway with the speeds everyone drives. Even so, many people on our street allow their dogs to go outside and roam up and down the street at will. I can't believe that none have been in an accident yet. Our dog is NEVER off-leash (unless in a securely fenced area), and it's very irritating when I feel that I have to protect my dog from others who are off-leash. We have one particular neighbor who has a dog that absolutely hates our dog for some unknown reason. They are aware of this, however still insist on allowing the dog outside off-leash. My husband actually had to pick our dog up once because the other dog was trying to attack her - he gets so frustrated and angry. I just don't understand people who seem to have no concern for others whatsoever.

Olivia said...

That's so annoying. It's the same way in our little neighborhood. Except it's not so much people walking them off leash, but letting them just hang out in the front yard or garage off leash. Then Millie (bloodhound mix) and I get chastised and chased by these animals when trying to walk. One day I came really close to kicking a dog that ran up snarling at Millie on her leash. As much as I would hate to hurt a dog, I will not let my dog be attacked while confined to her leash. Thankfully the owner FINALLY noticed what was going on and got her dog under control.

Mayzie said...

Um, so while my mom is busy banging her head on the wall and muttering stuff like "stoopid, STOOPID peoples!", I'll just tell you that I just hate it when a doggie runs up to me while I have mom and dad on a leash. It makes me feel like we're trapped and there's nothing we can do abouts it.

And we ESPECIALLY hate it when peoples walk their doggies without a leash near traffic. I mean, you might have the bestest trained doggie in the world but it only takes ONE time for something to go really, really wrong.

Wiggles & Wags,
mayzie

PeeS. Thank you for your comment on my mom's postie yesterday. She really appreciated it.

The Highlands Mathis said...

This is one issue that gets me hot under the collar. ;0 I carry a walking stick when I'm walking my pittie in the city and I have beat many dogs that rush us over the head even while their owners watch and shout. I recently was told that I should get a citronella spray instead of beating them so I don't get in trouble for being an aggressor in the situation. With the spray I can stand out of range of the approaching dog and shoot it in the face and call it self defense.

Heather said...

"Dogs aren't meant to be on leash"? That is their excuse? That is so bizarre! I am a firm believer that even if you have the most trained dog ever invented, you have no idea what could happen with OTHER dogs, so it's imperative to leash. I had a bad experience where my leashed dog got attacked my an unleashed dog, whose owner was all, "It's okay, she's a sweetheart, she just wants to play." right before she went for the jugular.

Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day said...

First of all, I love your blog! I'm a mommy to a pittie named Jora..

It drives me CRAZY how many people do not leash their dogs. I avoid walking in neighborhoods for that reason. My dog is awesome, but tends to be reactive on leash to another dog charging at her.. and I"m afraid of what would happen if a dog charged at us.. mostly I am afraid my dog would be blamed if the other dog got hurt because of her breed, even though she is always on leash.

I do not understand people who put their dogs and others at risk.

dw said...

Dogs off leash in the city is just crazy! Sounds like the guy can't control his dog ON or OFF leash! The experience I had with an off leash dog was with someone down the block where I used to live. The family had a Newfie who'd get out when the kids left the gate open. Hannah would come loping down the sidewalk, but was very gentle and wouldn't jump. I would simply take her by her hot pink color and walk her home and close the gate. Of course she'd get some loving and pats on the head because she was just so cute. Before I got to know Hannah, the first time she came running at me, I will admit to being a bit scared (I was walking out to my car to leave for work), but thankfully she turned out to be a real sweetie -- a big one, to be sure, but a sweetie.

Kari in WeHo said...

our neighborhood is filled with unleashed dogs and owners who get mad when my pups react to a loose dog running up to them

Kari
http://dogisgodinreverse.com/

Duff said...

If they are correct that dogs aren't "meant to be on a leash," they also must recognize that dogs aren't "meant" to live in cities.

I also echo the paranoia that if my well mannered pit mix reacts poorly to an ill mannered toy yorkie, it's my dog that gets put down. And then it's their house that gets burned down. All that can be avoided with a simple leash, ya know?

Benny and Lily said...

mom says bad words when she encounters these peoples. They scare me and Lily to death and then we get mad and every buddy is screaming
Benny & Lily

houndstooth said...

Off leash dogs are a huge pet peeve of mine! I find that most people who think they have control of their dogs off leash are sadly lacking in a dose of reality. It's unsafe on so many levels, and just frustrating to deal with. I'd carry something with me for protection in your position. A hiking stick works wonder, as does citronella spray.

Wyatt said...

That is a sore subject for us too. We always have the dogs leashed in public and hate it when off leash dogs rush us. Stanzie really freaks out. We do our best, to steer clear of off leash dogs.
I'm shocked that people do that right in the busy city with traffic....

Wyatt's Mom

mastertealc said...

Hiya! It's me - Teal'c! I'm back!!!!!!!!

And the off leash issue is a difficult one for me/us... I walk off leash in the streets and I walk heal. I don't go to other dogs in the streets as long as my hoomans don't say I'm allowed to. (different picture in the park!)
But my mum says that we don't need the laws for obedient dogs and good dog owners but for the stupid ones that let their dogs run towards dogs on the leash or right next to a main street. If it gets busy my mum takes me back on the leash. She always says: after all I'm just a dog... Not sure why there is a just though?!

The rule for us is: if there is a dog on the leash I don't go there without my mum asking the owner if that was ok. If everyone wold stick to that things would be easier.

Slobbers Teal'c

Oleander said...

The city i live in has a ton of off leash parks on the river with huge walking trails, so we never have the problem of people doing it in neighborhoods.

My dog goes off leash usually 4 days a week but not where she'd be able to get hit by car or in a fight. Does your city have much for off leash parks?

rustbeltrebel said...

Funny that this topic came up. The husband ran into this last week while on a walk. Except the dogs were loose in the yard, didn't know their boundaries and charged our dogs. We find this more often than off leash walking.

Where we live (very ghetto) people really don't walk their dogs just tie them up or leave them loose in the yard. So not cool.

Our one dog is fearful and will flight where as the other will want to have smack down if a pooch charges and gets in her face.

It just pisses me off because all the work we have done with the fearful dog sets us back.

Mary said...

This makes me crazy. It is dangerous for the dog for so many reasons-it could run into traffic and get hit by a car, it could run away and get lost, it could approach a dog aggressive dog and get attacked, etc. And those stupid retractable leashes might as well qualify as no leashes at all for all the idiots that do not pay attention to their dog 10ft away as it's snarling at my dog.

We do allow Levi off leash at the park in fields, but only if there is NO ONE around and if the field is away from the street. He would only run to the next tree to pee on it, not run off. In the winter, even the huge park here is practically empty-it's like having 1200 acres to ourselves.

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