Take no chances

Always have a leash or line on your dog.

I was driving to a consult yesterday and noticed a man jogging along with his Cattle dog X running next to him, I always look at dogs, occupational hazard I guess and just as I noticed the dog was off leash, another dog from behind the fence ran up and barked at the cattle dog, who was startled and bolted onto the road, where sadly it was hit by a passing car.

It happened in the blink of an eye, there was nothing …

that anyone could have done at that moment, just a bad set of circumstances.

I stopped and rushed out to help, the dog was badly injured and the owner scooped him up and ran to his home, a few houses away, to get him to the vet.

It is gut wrenching to watch a dog in that much pain and being so frightened and confused. I don’t know the outcome.

Now the message!

I am sure that this dog was quite reliable off leash, otherwise I am sure he wouldn’t have been off leash, but it isn’t about reliability nor is it about how the dog reacts to normal circumstances.

It is like a seat belt in a car, we hope we will never need it, moan at the inconvenience of fitting it for no apparent benefit, but when the unexpected happens of course they save lives.

So do leashes!

In my training programs there are in most cases guidelines to use a long line whilst progressing through training, this is mainly just so the dog can’t self reward or blow off a command as the training isn’t done in a dangerous location, I build that level of precaution in just so training wont go wrong.

This isn’t a dog at the Cattle dog owner, I didn’t say a word to him, didn’t get angry or coach him, he knew and will think about this quite a bit I am sure, I just wish it had of been something he thought about before hand.

This blog post is to help remind you of the risks and although you may get away with taking this sort of risk many times, so did the Cattle Dog owner I am sure.

If you go running or biking with your dog, use a leash or line or bike attachment, safety first.

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  1. Id also add to make sure your collar is in good order. I had my young dog on the long line yesterday and he ran towards a bird, his collar broke open and he was loose, thank goodness it was in a park! Note to self: never buy cheap collars from the supermarket again!!

    • Good point Michelle, have a look at this article as well. Leash Breakage

      Another point to consider is always use a harness with a long line. This way if your pup hits the end with a K9 Pro collar (they wont break) the puppy wont be jarred to a halt by his neck.

  2. It is just a shame that we seem to see the obvious after the accidents happen.

  3. Here’s another safety issue you might like to tackle some time. The number of times I see cyclists riding along with the poor dog made to trot along beside; dogs being used to drag skateboarders around; parents out with their baby/child and the dog’s leash tide to the pram/stroller. Accidents just waiting to happen and when they do the poor dog gets yelled at & hit on top of being already possibly injured. People never blame themselves for their own sheer stupidity.

  4. Couldn’t agree more. Leash laws need to be enforced and I believe fines much higher then people may start taking notice. I have a sometimes reactive dog (she has never hurt another dog – yet) but that is due to me being responsible and letting her off leash in a secure area with dogs she knows. She is on lead at all other times.

  5. Saw a similar tragedy ten or so years ago when a beautiful, well-trained rottie was being walked on a long line, on a footpath but beside a busy road. A large dog flew out of it’s front yard and startled the rottie who in turn tried to evade the lunge by stepping on to the road. The result was devasting for all concerned and even though this blog is about having dogs on a leash for their protection, a reminder that having a leash that keeps your dog out of harms way is also the way to go. I cringe when I see people walking their dogs on footpaths in built up areas on retractable leads – it is an “accident waiting to happen”.

  6. I always walk my two shepherds ( both security patrol dogs) with harness and muzzled. Even though I have 99.9% confidence in both their OB and there recalls. It was driven home to me about six months ago when a 4 year old little bloke jumped out from nowhere and landed on my male dog Remy. Had I not taken the precautions I do god forbid we may have been short a child and a dog. He reacted as you would expect any dog to do switching into a fight or flight response lunging at the little boy who had genuinely winded Remy from the impact. Long story short small graze for the little bloke , a Gsd that is now very weary of shrubbery and 2 very relieved and apologetic parents almost as relieved as the owner of Remy.

  7. Well said! I am the one who often cops the brunt of the other half’s cynicism when I put the dogs leads and collars into the car but for me it’s the ‘insurance’ … more often than not we head to a usually isolated spot, but in my mind is always “what if”. When I am walking on the beach my dogs run off lead until another dog comes onto the beach, and then they both go onto the lead. The frustrating thing is that the other dog owners do not give the same courtesy, instead letting their dogs run riot and inevitably over to my dogs. Fortunately for the other dogs/owners my dogs are not agressive but who is to know that from 100 metres away? And in the case of the unthinkable “what if” my dog/s on leash bit the one off leash? The consequences would be disasterous for me who was the one being responsible, “what if”?? Lets remove the “what if” factor and give some common courtesty to other dogs and their owners – leash your dog in public PLEASE!

    • Other people letting their dogs run up to yours unrestrained is a whole other topic, it seems their walks end in drama many times but they seem to feel the victim when people turn up with their dogs and highlight that their dog is out of control…

      Leash laws are far from tough enough.

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