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Why Dogs Belong Off-Leash in the Outdoors | Outside Online
"If the owners are responsible, the presence of off-leash dogs can actually make the outdoors a better place"



"Responsible Dog Ownership

“I am a huge believer in enforcement,” says Bekoff, arguing that the best way to retain the privilege to walk your dog off-leash in a place like Boulder is to obey the rules—and have a reason to do so. “You need both the carrot and the stick to alter human behavior,” he continues. Having your dog off-leash means you need to be responsible.

There absolutely are places that dogs should not be off-leash, of course. And there are places dogs should not be at all. But there are also areas where human children should not be permitted to wander unsupervised and areas where humans should not tread at all. But just like laws that govern people are written to respect the decision-making powers of reasonable men, laws that govern dogs should also allow for the reasonable man.

I’m not about to let Wiley run amok in a sensitive bird nesting site or let him loose on a beach full of elephant seals. In fact, please give me a sign warning of those things. But on a backpacking trip, while camping, or just spending time in the mountains, I do want him to be off-leash. He’s happier that way, so I’m happier, too. And I don’t want that freedom to be limited by blanket legislation, personal prejudice, or fear.

It is the burden of any dog owner or caretaker to be responsible and considerate. Just like Americans traveling abroad, each of us is an ambassador for our culture. Every time someone steps in dog poop, that’s someone who’s going to thing negatively about dogs. Anyone who’s ever been bitten is going to feel even worse about them.

You know the saying “that’s why we can’t have nice things”? That’s how I feel every time I see a dog barking incessantly, every time I see dog poop laying around on a trail or sidewalk, and every time an armada of untrained chihuahuas attempts to kill Wiley. They never succeed, obviously, and Wiley is convinced they’re just playing, but a bad dog is the product of a bad dog owner. If you and I want to be able to take our dog places, then it’s up to us to make sure the dog is a positive thing, not a negative. There is no excuse: train your damn dog. And pick up his poop.

Want a real villain in this story of pets in conflict with nature? Domestic cats are reportedly killing 4 billion animals per year in the United States and are solely responsible for the extinction of at least 33 bird species. It’s cats, not dogs, that are our real enemies."
dogs  animals  pets  multispecies  outdoors  wessiler  2016  nature  wildlife 
may 2017 by robertogreco

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