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Is it ok to always keep a dog on a lead?

(91 Posts)
25Avalon Tue 26-Jan-21 11:45:34

I ask this question as there are so many places now where a dog can’t be let off a lead. Even farmer’s fields have notices saying dogs must be kept on a lead regardless of what’s in the field. Then these days there is the risk someone may steal your dog so you are advised to keep it on a lead. So is it ok to always keep them on a lead and never let them have a run except in your garden or do they sometimes need to be free?

NanaandGrampy Tue 26-Jan-21 11:56:16

I think in part that depends on the dog and breed.

I have a Cavalier who loves to run free - we usually go to the forest with him although he is well trained and doesn't run up to others. But if we cant take him out for whatever reason then we work off his energy in the garden by making him work for his food using his spaniel nose. He can be tired out by 20 mins of work as a 20 min run.

So, there will be quite a few dogs - usually working breeds- who you can work in your garden and burn off the energy.

On the other hand there will be some dogs who need exercise . If you can walk the miles needed for the dogs exercise then I think being on the lead whilst not ideal is workable.

Here we have several places specifically for dogs , so they can run free and I would be very sorry if things changed so much that you couldn't take your dog to a place where you can let them off the lead.

biba70 Tue 26-Jan-21 12:00:42

Personally, I would not have a dog if it has to be kept permanently on lead. Nor an indoor cat- and have chosen to live where this is possible.

Lexisgranny Tue 26-Jan-21 12:02:00

Locally we are told that all dogs must be kept on leads . The thinking behind this being that they could run up to other dogs/people and not respond to the owner’s call, resulting in the owner coming in close proximity to someone and breaking the distancing rules.

Kamiso Tue 26-Jan-21 12:02:39

Before we were allowed to buy our golden retriever, we had to assure the breeder that he would be given at least one hours free run every day. This was in the 90s. It will be much harder to do now with people treating dogs as humans and not wanting them to frolic with other dogs. There is also the danger of dogknapping which seems to be a serious issue since the cost of puppies is sky high.

merlotgran Tue 26-Jan-21 12:13:40

Even farmer’s fields have notices saying dogs must be kept on a lead regardless of what’s in the field.

The reason for this is that certain crops are just as vulnerable as livestock.

We live in the middle of farmland that produces a lot of vegetables, particularly salad crops, for supermarkets. Upmarket shops like M&S will reject a whole field if, on the day of inspection, a dog is seen running free.

Oopsadaisy1 Tue 26-Jan-21 12:14:38

DD tries to take her dog to the local woods twice a week, we also have a large garden, so the dog can have a run.
But I always keep her on a lead, so many dogs are loose, away from their owners and I don’t think it’s fair that if you don’t like dogs you are likely to have several running around without being under control.
Apart from out in the main road, their isn’t anywhere in our Village that you avoid loose dogs, as soon as the owners are off the main road the dogs are let off of their lead and off they go.
Also there seems to be a lot more dogs in the village , puppies and large dogs, than there were before last years lockdown. Not sure why.

Nanof3 Tue 26-Jan-21 12:15:36

I do not trust any dog running free and unless a dog is working on a farm with the farmer etc, I think all dogs should be on a lead and under control at all times.
A friend was walking to work one morning and was attacked by a dog who savaged her face and almost killed her, many years later she is still having operations to repair the damage.
Locally only this week a large dog attacked a small one which died and the attacker was put down.
There are also many reports of dog attacks on sheep and other livestock as well as the horrific attacks on children.
Owners should be legally obliged to attend training before getting a dog as well as have insurance in place to cover any damage caused by their dog.

MawBe Tue 26-Jan-21 12:49:13

Not all dogs are the same and it is wrong to generalise (eg about never having a dog that needs to be kept on a lead) Retired greyhounds should be kept on the lead and to be honest most have never known anything else apart from racing. It is a joy to see them doing “zoomies” but it should be in an *enclosed secure space as they have little idea or recall and if there is an alternative attraction.... no chance!
I recognise there are exceptions, beaches or open moorland may be possible but I have had two instances of dogs disappearing for several hours to risk it again.
Plus as the laziest dogs on the planet even a secure dog paddock may be a waste of time (and money) - see below!

sodapop Tue 26-Jan-21 12:50:01

It does depend a great deal on the breed as N & G said. I wouldn't like to think any dog of mine couldn't have a free run at least once a day. A lot of places have areas where you can exercise your dog off the lead for a small charge.
All dogs have different needs though, our JR would spend hours in the field with my husband running around and digging countless holes. Our Yorkie cross will only stay a short while then sits by the gate waiting to go indoors.

downtoearth Tue 26-Jan-21 12:58:05

Maw that is exactly what happened when we had Bella, a retired greyhound. grin

After paying for the secure eclosure and travelling quite a way to get there, madam Bella, showed no interest, and warched us play ball with each other, at which point she lay in the sunshine on the lovely warm grass and went to sleep.

A few days later she slithered out of the door behind my GD and took off, it took hours of searching before we found hergrin

MayBee70 Tue 26-Jan-21 13:03:03

We never let our whippet off lead unless there are no other dogs around as all of our dogs have been attacked over the years. Dogs like labradors need loads of exercise and I’d imagine it’s impossible for them to get enough e er use on lead. What I don’t understand is this idea that all dogs need to play with other dogs. I agree that they need to be socialised when young but after that we are their pack. I’m just so grateful when other people see our dog on a lead and then do the same with theirs instead of letting them just run up to her. What did infuriate me the other day was a couple with two terriers. They could see our dog was on a lead but kept throwing a ball for their dogs just past her and then giving us funny looks because we were having to hold her back. I felt so sorry for her. Seen so many awful pictures of sheep attacks recently. And also get angry seeing people run their dogs across crop fields: there are always lots of pictures on Facebook of that but people get angry if you point out they’re destroying someone’s livelihood. It’s important, if your dog is kept on a lead, to let it sniff. Not only is it important for the dog to do that but it tired them out. We play lots of go find games in the house if we can’t get out for any reason. ( oh dear, I think I’m in moan mode today!).

Shandy57 Tue 26-Jan-21 13:04:57

My sheltie has two lead walks, and one off lead on the beach, where he goes every day of his life. Very important as lambing season approaches to keep dogs on leads anywhere near livestock, unfortunately we still have visitors who see a field and think it's a public park.

Chardy Tue 26-Jan-21 13:06:13

I have a tiny outside space, and always try and let the dogs have some off-lead time every day. Sometimes it's an hour on the beach, sometimes 5 minutes in a green space. Sometimes they run around, sometimes they enjoy just sniffing.

I also have indoor cats, who've never known any different. It's almost unusual to see a cat out these days round here.

Nanna58 Tue 26-Jan-21 13:06:29

My greyhounds are on the lead unless we go ( pre Covid) to a secure area where you can pay for an hour for them to ‘zoom’ some years ago on one of these sessions one misjudged , or I moved, and ran into my leg resulting in a torn crucial ligament, so I would not risk this happening to someone in a pack or some such, they really can be like missile!!}!

Nanna58 Tue 26-Jan-21 13:07:30

Spell check , meant in a park

Smileless2012 Tue 26-Jan-21 13:13:21

As others have posted, a lot depends on the breed and also whether or not they have good call back.

We let our cockapooh and toy poodle off the lead depending on where we are. They both love the beach but we're avoiding that with the current restriction as they're busier than usual.

I have an indoor cat too Chardy. We have a good sized roof terrace where he can go out in warmer weather. He's a Sphynx (hairless) so I have to be careful he isn't out in strong sunlight and is always kept warm.

MayBee70 Tue 26-Jan-21 13:16:34


My greyhounds are on the lead unless we go ( pre Covid) to a secure area where you can pay for an hour for them to ‘zoom’ some years ago on one of these sessions one misjudged , or I moved, and ran into my leg resulting in a torn crucial ligament, so I would not risk this happening to someone in a pack or some such, they really can be like missile!!}!

We were just talking about that this morning. Met another whippet on the way to the beach and ours was so excited seeing another sighthound so we had a little ‘chat at a distance’. Their dog was of the ‘run straight at your knee’ variety, as was my last one, but outer current one runs around you. It’s scary seeing something run straight towards you at 35 mph! It’s so frustrating not being able to use the secure fields because they were, pre covid, springing up everywhere.

MayBee70 Tue 26-Jan-21 13:17:00


SueDonim Tue 26-Jan-21 13:17:36

I don’t know where this obsession over dogs running free has come from. We had dogs for twenty years in a large village and to see a dog off-lead was a rarity. FF to 2021 and two of my three UK-based grandchildren have been attacked by free-running dogs in the last two weeks. One owner didn’t even have a lead on him and had to drag his dog away by its scruff! angryangry

Our former neighbours had eight - yes, eight - dogs that she ran free in the local park. You cannot tell me she could keep on eye on all their deposits all of the time.

I like dogs but I don’t put them above humans which is what seems to be happening now.

BlueBelle Tue 26-Jan-21 13:19:51

I would only own a dog if I could allow it to run free ( within my sight of course and being well trained is so important ) and in an area allowed my case the beach
And I would only ever want a cross I m not sure what the correct term is now I presume mongrel is frowned on some crosses are very very expensive and fashionable so I don’t mean them I mean what we called a mongrel or a mutt

I also don’t like the idea of indoor cats I believe it is just stunting all the natural instincts of an animal to entertain human beings, cats should be climbing, running , chasing and these are inbuilt reactions that don’t disappear just because they ve never been allowed out Sorry to any indoor cat owners but that’s my opinion

Gwyneth Tue 26-Jan-21 13:29:17

I think it’s cruel to always keep a dog on a lead. Obviously there are places where dogs must be kept on a lead for example, where there are children etc. There will also be other exceptions. But generally speaking if you are unable to find a place where you can let your dog have a proper run then you shouldn’t have one. Think about another pet instead.

Hetty58 Tue 26-Jan-21 13:33:08

If I let my dog off her lead - she just trots along at my heels anyway!

Iam64 Tue 26-Jan-21 13:51:00

I’ve always shared my life with dogs. We had cross breeds and Lancashire healers when I was a child. As an adult, In the early 70s, I had a spaniel from a neighbour. For the next 40 years, we rescued various cross breeds. I adopted a huge labradoodle who died last summer, aged 12. Fabulous dog, very intelligent, high prey urge, standard poodle independence, working lab energy levels. She helped me find a good trainer or she’d have been chasing deer for ever.
All my dogs have excellent obedience and recall. Currently, we have a young show type spaniel and 14 week old Labrador. He’s my first pup in years and full on.
I can’t imagine not being able to let my dog’s run free most days. The pup of course can only have 15 mins currently but he had a great time off lead with the spaniel this morning. Her recall is solid and of course he’s either at my side or with her, so is quickly learning to come when called.
I don’t want to grumble but- I do wish people would train their dogs. It builds a bond between dog and handler. It’s also the least we dog owners can do. My two were on lead when a young French bulldog ran up jumping all over them. The owner appeared, laughing and inevitably shouting ‘it’s alright he’s friendly’. She had to invade my space to get her dog who ignored her. She found it very amusing and was cross when I told her she was fortunate my spaniel is patient, that not all dogs would tolerate her dogs behaviour, especially with a pup in the mix

Hetty58 Tue 26-Jan-21 13:57:50

Gwyneth, I get really annoyed by those selfish folk who let their (usually untrained, Iam64) dogs off the lead 'for a good run' in the local park.

They can run in the fields, on the river paths, in the forest, all nearby, instead. Why let them off where children are playing and people are cycling?