Off-Leash Etiquette

Today is a breathtakingly gorgeous Sunday. The sun is shining, the weather is brisk but windless and it’s a perfect day in Vancouver to hit the beach with your pooch.

Luckily, I know an unofficial, off-leash stretch of beach that is a well kept secret. It’s a zen destination to enjoy a quite walk in nature (seal and heron sighting are common) when you’re just not feeling up to the barking, racing and hijinks of the official dog beach. So I bundled up in my toque and puffy jacket and hit the beach with the Nickster.

nene beach

It was just the walk I was craving. A seal stuck his nose out of the water to investigate us as we walked by the ocean, the dogs and owners we met were relaxed and friendly and all was good…until the very end.

As we were nearing the end of the walking area I noticed an off-leash Boxer with an aggressive stance walking towards us. Since my little, trouble-making Terrier is not a big fan of boxers I immediately leashed him up and called to the Boxer’s owner that my dog is not Boxer friendly. She completely ignored me and they kept on walking towards us. The Boxer was still off-leash and starting to approach us like we were prey. I called out again, louder. She stared blankly at me and then reached to take her earphones out. Seriously? Earphones?? So I stated the problem again, she finally leashed her dog and we walking civilly around each other, both dogs on short leashes.

A few weeks ago a Pitbull named Pandora was stabbed to death on Kits Beach. Her death was senseless (and will be the topic of my next post) and involved an altercation between her (leashed) and a barking, aggressive, off-leash Pug.

So, the moral of my story is that it’s a lovely, bonding experience, taking our pups for an off-leash walk or hike but we have to, as responsible dog owners, have our eyes and ears open at all times. We can’t be tuning out the world when walking our dogs, especially if you have a dog with issues (like I do). A warning growl, aggressive body stance; we need to be present to pick up those cues to keep our pups and other pups safe.

Wishing everyone a lovely day in the sun, frolicking safely and happily with your canine companions!


3 thoughts on “Off-Leash Etiquette

  1. Here here!! off leash dogs running at other doys is no different to a human rushing another human it’s the height of canine rudeness..Forrest as a puppyfarm pup already had issues..his first walks were as always on leash he was rolled by off leash bigger dogs on several occasions..owners lamely laughing that their dog was playing! much work and 10 years later long story very long..but Forrest loves Doc who we had as a one year old when we bought Forrest home..and cannot abide any other dog…he gets fearful and it’s a nightmare how stressed he gets..we have 11 acres here and we go for awesome walks with lots of different sniffs and dams to swim in and paddocks to roam but if I was to take him to a park and he saw a dog he would lose it…not to mention if an unleashed dg came at him I dread what he would do then he would pay the price. reading body language is vital and appreciating another owners advice on their own dogs capabilities is paramount.

    • Awww, sounds like you’re giving your dogs and awesome life with a lot of land to run and play. I love what you said about some dog behaviour being the same as a human rushing another human. So true 🙂

      • They have heaps of fun here..just wish they could enjoy the company of other my old vet used to say ..some dogs just don’t like other dogs..i guess like I don’t like some is true..imagine a big bloke running at would want to run or defend yourself..same thing..:)

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