It’s 5:36 pm as I sit here writing this and Tucker is still our roaming about. Tucker, one of the many neighborhood loose dogs. He is such a sweetheart and seems to be well-fed but for the life of me, I can not understand why humans allow their dogs to run loose.
We do live in a rural area but we are far from being in the deep woods or country.
This is not farmland here.
Sure, about two miles up the road you can find farmland, or closer to it but here, it’s rural and the streets at 5 pm are busy.
Loose Dogs Are Upsetting To Everyone:
Tucker is far from the only dog let out to roam the streets and neighborhoods.
There is the pair of beautiful golden Labs that follow the mail truck for miles.
Then we have the hunting dog that lives directly behind me that is let out daily to run for about 15 minutes.
At least he always stays within a tight-knit range and his owner is always watching him.
What I do not understand is why people get dogs and do not make the time to walk them so they get the exercise they need.
Pet exercise is one of the main things pets need as I wrote about in How To Be A Great Pet Parent.
Today I noticed that Tucker does not have his collar on.
Possibly due to the complaints from neighbors on Nextdoor.com
The only reason I know his name, to begin with, is he used to wear a collar.
I once called his owner and let her know he was loose.
Her response was very casual and that he enjoyed being let out to chase the cows in the field right by their home.
Well, their home is relatively close but the street that Tucker is crossing every day, twice a day, as he is let out to “chase the cows” is busy.
Yes, every day, twice a day.
Once at 8 am and once at 5 pm.
Trust me, Tucker is not avoiding rush hour traffic and even in rural areas like mine, we have traffic.
In fact, from 5 pm to 5:15 pm I counted 48 rushing cars go down my street.
Why Loose Dogs Are Upsetting:
First of all, they upset our pets.
Lyla wants to meet Tucker so much but I can’t introduce them.
There are many reasons why this would be a bad thing.
For one, I have no idea if Tucker has any infectious disease.
Also meeting Lyla would only encourage Tucker to keep coming by for visits.
That is also the same issue with anyone giving him too much attention.
The first time I saw Tucker out and about I did give him some food and water.
At that time I thought he may be a stray in need of help.
Of course, after meeting his owner I learned differently.
Another problem and this for me is the big one, I do not want to see Tucker get hit by a car!
Loose Dogs Can Be Hit By Cars:
I do not care how smart you think your dog is, the chance of being hit is real.
Not only would this be devastating to anyone who loves their pet, but also for me, as an animal lover.
I sit here working every day watching these loose dogs narrowly escape death.
It causes me anxiety every single day.
It causes anxiety in my Lyla, who already deals with anxiety.
Granted she isn’t worried about them getting hit, she is just either wanting to play or being territorial.
I have tried everything from talking to dog owners, ignoring the dogs hoping they will go home quicker, to shutting my curtains so I do not have to look it the near misses.
The animal lover in me does not want to ignore the issue.
If one of these dogs were to be hit I will be the first one running out there to try to save it and taking it to the emergency vet.
Loose Dogs Can Cause Car Accidents:
One should also think about the fact that your loose dog could cause an accident.
Swirving to miss hitting a pet can cause injury or death for the person driving or their passengers.
No one wants to hit your pet nor be put in a situation while driving with their family of choosing between hitting, and killing your pet, or potentially their own children.
And no one wants their kids to see your pet being hit either.
For that matter even hitting your pet can cause an accident or damage to the car itself.
Who is to blame when that happens?
The answer is that it depends but this article from Axle Addict may shed some light.
It may also create pause for more questions.
One thing is for sure, it is not black and white, and varies depending on where you live.
It’s a painful, detailed process regardless and one you should think carefully about both as a driver, and the pet owner allowing your dog to run loose.
Loose Dogs Can Be Attacked Or Injured:
A loose dog, especially one in a rural area close to the country can be attacked by wildlife.
While we are more rural than the country we do have coyotes that run in packs close by every evening.
The hawks around here are the size of Pterodactyl.
That is why I wrote the article Protecting Pets From Predators.
Even another loose dog could have mange or distemper.
We have spotted coyote with mange just a quarter mile from us on busy streets that lead directly to the highway.
Let’s not even consider the more obvious threats such as heartworm, rabies, ringworm, parvo etc and so on.
Just coming into friendly contact with other pets running loose can cause harm to your pet.
Why People Let Their Dogs Run Loose:
I can only make assumptions because I am not one of these people.
Laziness may be one reason for loose dogs.
Not making the time to walk their dogs properly.
One reason that could potentially be more legit is that the person themselves has health issues keeping them from being able to walk their dog.
This could be especially true if a pet owner is elderly.
They may not be informed enough to find free resources that could help with this.
People could think they are being a good pet parent by giving their dogs some freedom.
Not thinking of the potential consequences.
It just irritates me that here we live in an area that has absolutely gorgeous places to take our dogs for walks.
Places that are not only pet-friendly but offer different types of adventures for both the humans and pets.
Around here we have places for pets with mobility issues and places to walk the more adventuresome pet.
There are pet-friendly places to walk dogs all over the country.
You may be questioning the leash-law where I live.
There isn’t one.
However, I do not think it should take more laws for humans to use their brains.
I am not one for making persnickety laws about every little thing in life.
Yet I am one for enlightening people on the usage of common sense.
If you are one of the people who allow their dogs to run loose please, for the love of dog, consider why you do this and correct your behavior.
If you know someone who is allowing their dog to run loose, please print this out and hand it to them or at least post it on their door.
Tucker’s owner as stated on Nextdoor within our neighborhood that he just loves to roam.
“He’s mine 😊 he’s safe at home (sitting on top of my feet as we speak!) I’ve tried a 100 times in a hundred ways to keep him at home but he’s a country/hunting dog and just wants to roam. I just got his collar fixed too! If anyone ever sees him just give me a call or send him on his way after some lovins. He comes home for dinner and snuggles every afternoon after his morning adventures.”
That was posted on February 14th.
Clearly, his collar is once again broken or lost, or whatever.
When I see dogs running lose it makes me question your love for your pet as a whole.
I wonder if you are taking care of them feeding them well, and interacting with them.
There has to be an underlying reason for loose dogs.
One that can be solved with a little thought and investigation.
Tuckers mom said he was laying on her feet as she typed her response to the person saying he was roaming around.
I believe her but I also know that first time Tucker came up to me, his fur was coated with stinky oil and he was so dirty.
My hands smelled horrible and had a thick layer of gunk on them when I came inside.
This was not something he had simply collected on his fur that day alone while out and about.
Look, I do not want to see any dog chained up.
The last thing I want is for your pet to never get out and get fresh air.
I detest collars and wireless fences that shock dogs.
Yet, there are ways to keep your pet safe!
Alternatives To Loose Dogs:
Take them for walks.
This is a no-brainer. Dogs need walks. Preferably with their human but if you can not walk your dog yourself there are alternatives. As mentioned and linked above there is free help for elderly with pets. Your own kids can walk your dogs. Wait, what? Are you worried about your kid’s safety walking your pets? Well depending on their age you may have a valid thought there but if you worry about your kid you probably should worry about your pet too. You can always hire a dog walker. Dogs need exercise, fresh air, and fun. It’s part of responsible pet ownership so please, own it!
Go to the dog park.
Your dog could be escaping because he or she is bored. Interaction with other dogs, new places, exciting sights and smells help. Dogs are naturally prone to want to sniff out new territory. Dogs who escape often are just looking for a new place to leave their mark or new smells. Dog parks can offer all of this and more!
Play with them in your own yard.
Speaking of being bored, your dog may just want to play with you! Depending on your dog’s breed and agility level your pet may just need more exercise and interaction. Get a ball, a frisbee, or some cool toy for them to chase. Try some agility training, or get them a kiddie pool to splash around in. Have fun with your pet. After all, didn’t you get a pet to enjoy the company of? Okay, so your dog is a farm dog, a hunting dog, a utilitarian purpose “pet”. I won’t even go into how much that bothers me but even they need play time. They are living beings, not just there for your agenda! Besides, I know plenty of farmers and hunters who are very good pet owners and love their dogs to bits.
Yes, train your pet to stay in their yard. Not with shock collars or with those cruel fences. When you get a dog you should know if it will be an outside dog or not. If you know your dog will be an outside dog you had best train them early to stay inside the fence. It’s your responsibility to do so. There are many methods to teach your dog to stay inside the fence. Clicker training is one healthy method. Learn more about Clicker Training.
Take them to the lake or a beach.
Dogs like humans want a change of scenery now and then. Dogs who like to escape to wander are in need of stimuli. Taking your dog to the lake or beach will give them new sensations from smell to feels plus it will wear them out. Have fun with your pet. That’s what it’s all about!
Get them interactive with friends and neighbors in your presence.
Instead of allowing them to roam around alone why not get active with them? I know for a fact some of these roaming dogs parents are home as they roam. Get out and get some exercise with your pets. Considering most of us are overweight or in need of cardio, it would not kill any of us to get some exercise. Meet your neighbors. Chat a bit. Get out from behind the computer. Yes, I know I am behind mine all day. Yet I would love to meet some pet people and maybe, just maybe if you came along with your pet to visit outside our window, my Lyla could meet your dog!
Keep your pet inside when you are not at home.
If you have really tried everything to keep your pet in his or her yard then you must resort to keeping them inside when you are not home. Sorry not sorry but it’s your responsibility to keep your pet safe. Loose dogs are an issue for everyone and should not be. I would do anything to protect my furbabies. Who cares if they tear up my furniture up as long as they are safe. There is no sense in having pets at all if I put my furniture before them in terms of value. I have an elderly dog and I clean up pee from my floor many times per day. It’s all part of being a pet parent.
Check your fence.
Putting a footer at the base can keep pets from tunneling out. Be sure there is nothing near the fence that they can climb. If they are jumping the fence, which is possible you may need to get a taller fence or find a way to put a header up there. While I do not love this suggestion if your dog is being overstimulated by things on the other side of the fence you may need to block his view. The reason I do not like this idea is I find it a bit mean, especially if you never take them outside of their fence to walk. Yet at least they won’t get hit by a car. Just walk your dogs people, please!
I am probably not going to make many friends with the neighborhood with this post.
Then again, many neighbors feel exactly as I do.
I am not trying to make enemies and by no means is Tucker the only dog that is wandering the neighborhood.
He is, however, the most predictable!
I simply waited for 5 pm and there he was.
I missed his earlier appearance as I was trying to sleep through Lyla and Link’s barking at him.
The thing is though when multiple neighbors tell you that your dog is out, again.
Some neighbors who are clearly annoyed by him or worried about him.
Neighbors even asking about the leash law which is non-existent, one has to wonder if the owner is getting the message.
We do not hate you, and most of us seem to think your dog is adorable and sweet.
However, we are worried, slightly annoyed, and wish you would take note about your loose dog.
Compared to humans, dogs are easy to train.
I’m not going to lie, if Tucker’s owner does see this, and gets the wake-up call, I will miss him.
Over the years he has meandered my way I have developed a fondness for him.
No, I do not like my dogs barking their heads off, nor worrying about the fateful day Tucker gets hit by a car.
If I could afford another pet, Tucker would mysteriously disappear.
Then again, he would be found enjoying play time in his yard, with me!
I want to hear from you!
What are your feelings on loose dogs?
Do you have loose dogs roaming your neighborhood?
What would you do if you had a dog that was frequently loose in your area?
Are there leash laws where you live?
How have you trained your dog to stay in his yard?