Leash Laws: A Better Version!
“All Dogs Must Be Kept On Leash”
Most towns in the U.S. have “leash laws”, restricting the places and times that dogs and other pets can be off-leash in public areas such as parks and sidewalks.
The other day I heard Cesar Millan say something about leash laws that rang so true to me it made me smile, and I wanted to share the thought here:
Leash laws require people to keep their dogs on leash when walking them outside. If only there were laws requiring people to leash up and walk their dogs in the first place!
What a beautiful reinterpretation of the leash law that would be! “All dogs must be on leash” would then mean ALL OWNERS MUST WALK THEIR DOGS, EVERY DAY! It constantly amazes me how many homes I visit where the dog is being treated more like a houseplant than an animal with physical, psychological, and social needs. Dogs didin’t invent apartment buildings, we did; and if you want your dog to enjoy your home with you, you have to take the time and energy to give him what he physiologically needs every day to sleep a peaceful night.
So how much walking SHOULD you do with your dog? Almost all new dog owners ask me, “What is the minimum?” First of all, every breed is different, and in fact every individual of every breed. But in general, I recommend my
“3 by 30” rule:
A typical dog should get at least three walks a day, at least thirty minutes each, at least one of which includes offleash playtime with other dogs.
Of course, this is just a minimum: the more walking – and exercise and socialization in general – the better. It’s pretty hard to overtire a dog, and even harder to oversocialize them; as I say, your dog would love it if you were to just set up camp in the dog park and sleep under the bench there.
Sound stressful? Try incorporating your daily chores into planned walks: take your dog with you when you need to drop off the drycleaning, or stop by the corner store, or drop off packages to mail. Take them with you when you go to the local dog-friendly cafe, and take care of unfinished emails and return phone calls while your dog romps around at the dog park.
Sure, some snub-nosed pups and older dogs can tire out more quickly, especially in the heat of the summer, so care should be taken in those situations. But most dogs, especially in the city, are under-exercised and undersocialized, and walks can help with both of these.
When done properly, a good walk also teaches your dog that “following the lead” of their mommy and daddy is a wonderful thing – it leads to all the delicious-smelling, fun places out in the world!
So respect leash laws. Not just the one saying your dog has to be on leash in public; also the unwritten one saying to get off your butt and start walking!