A letter to off leash dog owners

Girl and Dog

Dear Off-Leash Dog Owners,

We’ve met a few times in the park, and you may have noticed the nasty look on my face when your dogs sprinted over to sniff mine. Believe me, I noticed the angry look on your face when I didn’t jump for joy that my dog had some new “friends” to “play” with.

Believe me, Off-Leash Dog Owner, it’s not that I don’t love your furry children. I live with 3 myself, and I’m a pretty big fan of canine companions. All I ask is that you remember this one thing:

By law, you are required to keep your dog leashed. If you choose to go off leash, it is your responsibility that you do not bother anyone else who IS walking their dog on a leash.

This is kind of like how you can’t blame someone else for you rear ending them - it is so obviously your fault if you choose to drive to close and they need to stop suddenly.

The following are reasons why your off leash dog annoys me:

1. My dogs want to play

My dogs are social creatures. They would love to play with your dogs. No, I am not mean for not letting them play - I am a 110 lb woman walking a combined 110 lbs of dog. These dogs are attached to me with strings that I call “leashes.” I see that you are not encumbered by such strings, but when my dogs start jumping around and trying to romp with your dogs, thanks to these “leashes” I am pulled in a million different directions.

And no, I can’t just let my dogs off leash to play with yours because they don’t come when they’re called. I notice that your dogs don’t come when they’re called either - although while your dogs may not be inclined to run into the road, I have an extremely high drive border collie who will climb trees trying to chase birds, so I don’t think she would remember to look both ways if that bird led her across a street.

girl and doggy playing

2. My dogs don’t want to play

If your dog runs up to us, growling and acting aggressively, no amount of you shouting “He’s friendly!” is going to make my dog or I believe that. What we believe is what your dog is telling us - he would rather we left his park. Now, my dog is not aggressive, but when she’s on a leash, and your dog won’t back away, or approach politely, she’s not just going to stand there and put up with it.

Again, I’m walking 110 lbs of border collie and pit bull. If your two dogs get into a tussle with my two dogs, two humans are not going to be enough to fix that situation.

Dog on Bike


3. I don’t want to play

Maybe my dogs want to play, but I get up an extra hour early each morning to have a nice, calm walk before work. I like to walk through the park watching the sun rise, listening to the birds sing, and then I have to get home and get ready for work. I don’t have time to let our dogs play, and I don’t want to interrupt our calm walk to get them all excited and romping around. They have a huge back yard at home and they romp plenty. We go to the dog park after work and they romp there too. My morning walk is just not the time and place.

So to that man this morning who made a snide remark because I wouldn’t let my dog play with his - there’s no need to be rude when someone is annoyed that you’re breaking the law.

I could always call the cops if you don’t want to be friendly about it.

Woman dog rifle

To all those responsible Off-Leash Dog Owners…

I really appreciate you - the girl with the off-leash dogs that never approach mine, and always return to their owner when called. You sir, who keep a close eye out and leash your dog when you see other dogs coming, I appreciate you too. I think it’s great that your well-behaved dogs get a chance to stretch their legs and run around the park, and I have no desire to take that away from you. I’m happy to share the park with you, any day of the week!

To the rest of you…

I do love dogs, but I w ish you would think a little! Your dog might be friendly, but there’s a good chance that leashed dogs aren’t. If your dog goes barreling up to the leashed dog, the owner has no time to tell you whether it’s okay or not. The leashed dog may seem like it wants to play, but the owner may not want to attempt to cling to the leash while their dog wrestles with yours. The leashed dog may seem like it wants to play, but being leashed while playing makes it nervous, and therefore aggressive.

Does anyone else encounter problems with off-leash dog walkers? Are any of you off-leash dog walkers who may not be aware of why leashed-dog owners are giving you dirty looks?

Kellen Cooper avatar
About Kellen Cooper
Kellen Cooper is a CPA.