“A dog can only enjoy itself without a leash.”
These or similar thoughts are deeply rooted in the minds of many dog owners. You take it for granted that a dog that is constantly on a leash cannot be happy. As far as your dog is concerned, he must always be able to move around freely, romp, sniff and play with other dogs. However, there are a few reasons why your canine friend is rarely or never allowed to walk without being put on a leash.
Why Does a Dog Have to Walk on a Leash?
Keeping a dog means taking responsibility. I don’t just mean the responsibility for your dog, but also for other people and animals. By keeping your dog on a leash, you can control him. If he runs free, that is only possible to a limited extent. No matter how well he reacts to the recall, there is always a potential risk. After all, a dog is a living being, not a machine. He can have good days and bad days. He may be sick, scared, and then react differently than you would have expected him to.
Some dogs cannot or rarely walk without a leash for one of the following reasons:
They are passionate hunters
They are afraid of people, dogs or noises
They react aggressively to people, conspecifics or other animals
They are among the so-called listed dogs
They are still very young and therefore untrained
they are not easily accessible
They suffer from an illness.
In this case, it would be reckless or even dangerous for your dog and others to take it off the leash.
Even so, life with a dog that is permanently on a leash is not always easy. Often other dog owners lack understanding. Sometimes they let their dog run to your leashed one. Other times they give you a lecture that you also have to take your canine friend off the leash.
All of this can be stressful and frustrating. But you don’t need to feel guilty about it. Just because a dog runs off the leash does not guarantee its happiness.
Are Dogs Happier Without a Leash?
For a dog to be balanced and happy, it takes more than free running. He needs
- mental and physical workload
- Plenty of rest
- Satisfying a dog’s needs, for example, sniffing or digging. (Basic dog needs also include enough food and a need for security.)
- Socializing. It doesn’t have to be strange dogs or people. For some dogs, it is completely sufficient if they receive attention from their caregivers.
If your dog has to be kept on a leash at all times, you needn’t feel bad about it. All of these needs can be met in a dog that cannot be leashed.
Your Dog Will Feel Comfortable on a Leash
Whether your dog feels comfortable on a leash depends on choosing the right leash. With a bungee tow leash, for example, your dog has a lot more freedom of movement than with the usual 2 or 3m lead leashes for walking while guaranteeing it is still secured. Tow leashes are available in different materials and lengths. They are designed to be flexible and comfortable. This way, your four-legged friend can run a little faster when he’s having fun or sniffing the edge of the path.
However, do not leave your dog unattended or play too wildly with other dogs on the leash . In the worst case, the long leash can wrap around the other dog’s neck and cause injuries. If your dog likes to play with fellow dogs, you can inquire at a dog school or an association whether there is a fenced area there that you can use. In more and more municipalities, fenced outdoor areas for dogs are also being offered.
In addition to playing with his fellow dogs, there are countless ways to mentally exercise your dog. Here you will find employment opportunities for indoors and outdoors. You can also spice up your walks with simple means by playing search games with your dog or calling up familiar signals in unfamiliar places.
So that your dog can pursue his dog’s needs such as sniffing, you should give him enough time on your walks and not structure them too much.
As you can see, a leash is not the decisive factor in whether your dog leads a happy life. Rather, it depends on satisfying his canine needs. And you can do this just as well or badly with a dog on a leash as with one that is always free. For some dogs, it is even more relaxed when they are on a leash. Scared dogs in particular can gain security while putting on a leash. Letting your dog run free comes with a lot of responsibility. Not to take it off, exactly the same.