Does your dog practically do cartwheels when you pick up the leash? If so, you may have taught them well to be excited about fitness! January is National Walk Your Pet Month, and while there have been movements to have “leash-free” communities, there are good reasons to keep your pet leashed in public places, no matter how well-behaved your dog is.

10 Reasons to Keep Your Dog Leashed

Fenced backyards and leash-free dog parks provide space for dogs to run wild and let out their inner racehorses. But on the street and other public places, it’s safer to keep them leashed. Here’s why:


It’s a devastating moment for all involved when a dog gets hit by a moving vehicle. Even well-behaved dogs may suddenly run in the path of a moving car or not be seen by someone backing up in a parking lot. Parking lots, sidewalks, and roadside excursions are safer with a leash.

Greetings and Salutations

When your pup is leashed and greets another leashed pup, the dogs are usually on good behavior. They know their people are close, and they’ll sniff to say “hi.” If there’s a hint of aggression, you can quickly pull your dog away and defuse the situation.

Staying Cleaner 

If you’ve ever let your dog run loose in a park or other open space, only to watch in pain as they chased ducks into the muddy lake, then you know what we mean. No one really wants the extra chore of spontaneous bath time with their pooch.

Preventing Jumping on Others 

Have you ever been at a park (not a dog park, a regular people park) and someone’s off-leash dog terrorizes a toddler eating an ice cream? It’s not that the dog is trying to scare the kid, but can you see how a 3-foot-tall person waving about a popsicle just out of reach of the dog’s face can seem like a game to the one with the wagging tail? No one is making friends with this.

Loss Prevention 

Dogs who accompany their people on leashes are less likely to get lost. For example, you can stop your dog from chasing after a cat. They won’t go on solo exploratory missions, and you’ll know exactly where they are and what they’re doing.

Preventing Them from Eating Something They Shouldn’t 

Garbage, offerings from strangers, and non-edibles: we all know dogs explore the world with their mouths, and some of them are very food-oriented. Eating things they shouldn’t can lead to upset tummies and worse.

No Accidental Puppies

Not every animal is spayed or neutered, and if a pup gets out of the house and meets up with another animal in heat, well, it doesn’t take long for new puppies to be on the way.

Prevents the Spread of Disease 

Some dogs like to eat other animals’ “leavings,” and those can carry disease. Such dining is less likely to happen if your pet is leashed.

Marks Them as a Pet

Well-trained dogs are a pleasure to walk on the leash, and it identifies them as your pet. Well-behaved dogs with identification are easier to reunite if you somehow get separated.

It’s the Law 

In most places, leash laws are in effect for the safety of your dog and those around them. This can be the most compelling reason to leash your dog; it’s simply required!

Our dogs come to us understanding doggie codes, but they look to us for training and expectations for happily living with people. It’s our role to teach them how to walk on a leash and guide them to other means of pleasant co-existing. This National Walk Your Pet Month, keep your dog on a leash when you’re in public places. It offers you more control, and your dog feels more confident knowing you’re right there.

If you have any questions about leash-training your dog or need to set your pet's next appointment, please feel free to reach out to us!

The Drake Center for Veterinary Care is an AAHA-accredited animal hospital located in Encinitas, CA. The Drake Center loves being a source of information for all pet owners across the country however if you have any questions regarding pet care and do not live in Encinitas, CA or surrounding cities, we encourage you to contact your local veterinarian.


  • Dog Fitness
  • Dog Behavior
  • Dog Activities and Fun