Let’s just get to it and answer this question right away. Robin and I never condone having a dog off leash when you and your dog are outside and in a non-contained area. But “You aren’t you dog trainers?” you ask. “Can’t you train a dog to always stay by their owner’s side or always come to them when called?”
In “the real world”, everything is based on probability. What is the probability that something will happen? What is the possibility of a future result? Except for the answer to the question “What is 1+1?”, everything is based on “I think that…; I believe…; I am positive…; I am really, really sure that…”. These all leave the possibility of something unplanned happening.
The more we prepare and educate, the better we may be prepared and the better the odds of achieving the result we want. But the bottom line is that there is always the possibility for something that we do not want to take place.
Now, we come to the problem of our dog being off leash. We can train and train and train to make sure they will never leave our side under every scenario we can imagine. We can use extreme attention devices to get their focus. All of these things are, by definition, things we have anticipated.
What happens when an unanticipated scenario takes place? These scenarios are normally characterized by loud noises, unusual movements, and strange objects causing a large spike in our dog’s adrenaline and outward focus. They often are triggers for instantaneous “fight or flight” scenarios.
Our experience has sadly shown that it is nearly impossible to control your off-leash dog under these extreme and unforeseen scenarios. Robin and I would like to review this further and even give you some alternate plans for mitigation. Please check out our training blog article titled “Should My Dog Be Outside Without a Leash”.