We have all seen a dog on the loose. A teeny dog, feeling ten feet tall, charging up to a German Shepherd. A chihuahua snapping at someone's heels as they walk down the road. Or a rambunctious dog chasing a cyclist. There are many “dogs running loose” situations. Although a lot of these scenarios wind up okay, there is always the potential for things to go bad. These scenarios are just a few reasons why using leashes with dogs is a good idea. Overall, leashes help keep every dog and every owner safe.
In this post, we will look at several reasons using leashes on dogs, whether a pet or service dog, is a wise choice.
1. It Could Be the Law
One of the major reasons using leashes is so important is because most states and their municipalities uphold their own leash laws. It's important to know and obey leash laws in your municipality. For example, the municipal code for the city of San Luis Obispo states that it is unlawful for a dog to be off a leash in a public place “unless the dog is securely confined in a vehicle, or unless the dog is at “heel” beside a competent person and obedient to that person’s command.”
With service animals, the ADA requires that the service dog be leashed or tethered unless doing so hinders a dog from doing their required work or task. If a leash prevents a service animal from doing their tasks, they must obey commands such as voice commands or signals.
It is important to be mindful of leash laws in your area or a person could face fines or be held responsible for accidents or damages.
2. Keeps Other Dogs and People Safe
Keeping a dog leashed can protect the public, the handler, the dog, and help prevent accidents from happening.
For example, a leash can keep a dog from entering traffic or wandering in the middle of the road, keeping both pedestrians and drivers from potential accidents. Parking lots and driveways can even be danger zones, and handlers holding a leash can pull a pup away from vehicles in reverse.
Leashes can also keep other dogs and people safe. A dog on a leash prevents lunging at other animals or jumping on people or children.
Basically, if a dog encounters people or other dogs, it's easier for a handler to control a situation when a leash is in use.
3. Keeps Dogs from Wandering
Using a leash on a dog keeps them from wandering into places they are not supposed to be, such as on other people’s properties.
It will also prevent them from relieving themselves in inappropriate places and keep them from sniffing or eating things that are bad or harmful to them. What’s more, a dog on a leash cannot chase other dogs, cats, or other critters such as squirrels.
Lastly, keeping a dog on a leash keeps them from wandering off too far or even getting lost.
4. Prevents a Dog from Intimidating or Scaring People
It is reassuring to the public to see a dog on a leash. This is especially true for dogs that are viewed as large or intimidating.
It is important to understand that there are people who genuinely have a fear of dogs. This might be difficult for dog lovers to understand, but people with dog phobias exist. It’s courteous to be mindful of these people while out in public, and a dog on a leash will make these people less fearful when they see a dog.
5. Allows the Handler to Have Some Kind of Control
When driving a vehicle one must be mindful of both their own driving and other drivers on the road. Having a dog in public is similar; it's important to stay mindful of your own pet as well as other dogs on the road. You might know your pup well, but you don’t know how other people’s dogs will react or what to expect from them. Keeping a dog on a leash allows the handler to have some kind of control if a dog gets annoyed or even aggressive. Leashes also allow handlers to have control of where their dogs go, and what they can and cannot do.
Whether it's obeying leash laws in your area or just being courteous, using leashes with dogs is a smart idea. Mostly, dogs should be leashed while in public areas except in designated areas such as doggie parks. Using leashes could prevent accidents and losses from happening. If you want to know more reasons why it’s important to use a leash, check out the I Heart Dogs article here.
What Kind Of Leash Does New Life K9s Use?
Since we use bond-based teaching with our dogs, we use the We Leash. This leash has two handles, one for the handler and one for the dog! The We Leash helps the dog feel more comfortable and less restrained. We are all about building the bond between handler and dog, and these leashes provide us the opportunity to bond with our dogs while walking on the leash. To learn more about the We Leash visit their website.
We hope this was helpful!
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“California Leash Law” Rosenthal Injury Law, 19 December 2019. Accessed January 4, 2021,
F., Rebecca, and Wisch. “Table of State Dog Leash Laws.” Animal Law Legal Center, 1 Jan. 1970. Accessed January 5, 2021,
“Chapter 6.20 Animal Control Regulations” City of San Luis Obispo. Accessed January 5, 2021,
Vaughn, Shamontiel L. “Keep Your Dog on a Leash.” Medium, Doggone World, 18 Feb. 2020,
Lotz, Kristina. “15 Reasons To Keep Your Dog On Leash (Even When It's Legal Not To).” IHeartDogs.com, 25 Aug. 2020,