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Dogs on a Leash
updated: Jan 10, 2013, 10:31 AM

By Edhat Subscriber

When walking my dog this morning in a residential area, an unleashed bigger dog came charging towards us from across the street. Fortunately, I picked up my dog in time, but the other dog kept sniffing and jumping up at us. The owner finally came out, but said "Don't worry, he's friendly" and not a word of apology. This dog was excited, and the owner had a had time catching him. I still can not understand why dog owners feel like it's ok to let their unleashed and unsupervised dog out of the house. It may be a friendly dog, but a big(ger) dog than yours charging is enough to traumatize any dog. What are the rules/etiquette regarding this?

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 362104 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 10:39 AM

The proper time to review and understand leash laws and off-leash etiquette is BEFORE you purchase a dog, not after.


 COMMENT 362106 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 10:41 AM

The only rule is that dogs need to be on leashes unless its a designated off-leash area. That said, sometimes dogs get out but it doesn't mean they should always be penalized.

Here, it doesn't seem like it was "charging" as it would in an attack - it was just coming over for a friendly greeting sounds like. Really, people (especially with small dogs) need to chill out about other dogs coming over to say "hi" to their dogs.

However, this really only goes for off-leash areas.


 COMMENT 362108 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 10:41 AM

For the City of SB, dogs must be leashed with a maximum 6 foot long leash ( the retractable ones are not legal leashes) in all areas except the legal off leash area such as Douglas Preserve, Arroyo Burro Beach east of the slough to the staircases, etc.

The owner was legally and socially in the wrong.


 COMMENT 362112 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 10:44 AM

While we are on the topic of dogs and laws, what is the law concerning dogs in stores? There are people taking dogs into stores a LOT lately, including grocery stores. Even fast food places. When I worked in the food industry that was illegal. I have seen birds, lizards and a snake, too. Isn't this a health hazard? What about the people that are afraid of them?


 COMMENT 362114 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 10:46 AM

This dog should have been on-leash period. The owner is breaking the law. Carry pepper spray and don't be afraid to use for the protection of your dog as well as the careless owner's dog. The self centered, the law doesn't apply to me attitude of so many dog owners in SB is sad. The "don't worry, he's friendly" nonsense is pure sillyness. While walking my dog on-leash a "don't worry he's friendly dog" would not give up on harassing my on leash dog nipping and just going crazy. My dog protected himself and grabbed the dog ultimately killing it. Animal control and the police were called, bottom line was the owner of the dead dog was found to be at fault and got a fierce scolding by animal control. It was an unfortunate situation that didn't need to happen if simple laws would have been followed.


 COMMENT 362118 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 10:50 AM


Home Depot has BIG signs reminding people that the SB Co Health Department bans dogs in the buildings.

But it sure does not stop them from bring the dogs in with them.

Maybe it is the fear of leaving the dog in the car (cops get called on you) or letting it stay home (and bark and have the cops called). Either way, I don't want to buy something "tagged" by a dog in a store. And yes I own a dog.


 COMMENT 362121 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 10:53 AM

LAW states that dogs are to be leashed unless in a leash-free zone (dog parks, some beaches, etc.). Etiquette says more or less the same. But when was the last time you were able to characterize most Americans as having proper etiquette? That said, I think as long as the dog obeys commands (stay, come, heel) and the owner has control over their dog so that the dog doesn't do exactly what happened to you, I think it's fine to have dogs off-leash. Might not be legal, but if the dog is well trained, I don't see the issue.

Next time, scream bloody murder, and maybe the idiot who can't control his dog will think twice about bringing a leash next time they head out. Or just say something like "well, that's lovely that your dog is nice, but it scared the crap out of me & my dog, not to mention your dog could have been hurt if a car was coming or something." I like the idea of a blood curdling scream better, I have a feeling that would stick in someone's mind better. :D


 COMMENT 362125 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 10:56 AM

Obviously a concealed carry handgun for your protection. That's what the NRA wants.

Seriously... neither dog or human can really tell the mood of the charging dog. It could be playful as the owner asserts ... or not, which the owner will not account for.

At the receiving end a smaller dog may rebuff a larger dog's friendly charge by snipping at it out of fear or to protect their family which can anger the larger dog and lead to a fight. Given all the uncertainty is why ....

...........................WE HAVE LEASH LAWS.....


 COMMENT 362127 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 10:59 AM

I get so tired of this defense of jumping dogs being justified as "he is just friendly." Like that makes it okay for him to jump on me.

I don't care. I don't want him jumping on me.

I have two small children and a baby. I do not allow them to jump and slobber on strangers. I love my children, but I am well aware that strangers do not find them so charming.

In the same way, I realize that you love your dog and find him sweet and charming. I, however, do not. Get him off me.


 COMMENT 362131 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 11:04 AM

When a "friendly" dog goes to jump up on me, I meet it with my knee. The dog usually goes flying. If the dog's owner doesn't like it, the owner gets the knee as well.


 COMMENT 362141P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 11:22 AM

106 re: chilling when an unleashed dog comes over to "greet" my leashed dog.

There's a reason I don't take my dog to off-leash areas. I, in fact, go to great lengths to walk him in areas where I haven't encountered an off-leash dog. I believe that canine greeting rituals are a visually learned behavior and my dog is congenitally blind and never learned the drill. This has caused the unleashed dog to fly off the handle several times and I have had to break up fights between my leashed dog and someone else's unleashed dog, even as the other dog parent was telling me "he's friendly"! Some dogs handle my dog's eyeless condition, but I'm not interested in figuring out if a dog that is bounding over is in that category or if I'm going to have to break up a fight.


 COMMENT 362143 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 11:26 AM

Unless the dog attacks yours, I don't see any problem. If it does attack a swift kick will likely get the dog to leave.


 COMMENT 362147 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 11:34 AM

What a lot of people don't realize is the owner of the dog is financially responsible for anything the dog does while it is unleashed in public because they are breaking the law. It can cost you big bucks.


 COMMENT 362151 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 11:52 AM

Again, little dog people need to calm down. Just because a bigger dog is sniffing your tiny pooch, doesn't mean you're being "attacked."


 COMMENT 362152 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 11:58 AM

151: Sniffing is not the issue. The issue is a big dog running at a person or a smaller dog when there is no way of knowing whether this dog is coming in for a sniff, or charging for attack. Personally, I do not want to have to "chill" and wait to find out the dog's purpose. I would prefer that you leash your dog.



 COMMENT 362155 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 12:04 PM

You did EXACTLY THE WRONG THING.....! Never pick up a dog... Dogs naturally will want to smell the other dog NOT ATTACK IT...!
It's a DOG, not a little kid! Get a clue!


 COMMENT 362159 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 12:14 PM

Do not "scream" - this can elicit prey drive further and make matters worse. Being calm, reading the on coming animal and reacting correcting based on that reading is safest. Many people with leashed dogs have dogs that might react to the unleashed one harshly. Keep your dogs on leash except in designated off leash areas - for their own safety if nothing else. It is especially bad manners to allow your leashed dog to roam about and approach people or other dogs. Train your dogs to behave with proper etiquette in public - that is: by your side, quiet, approaching people or pets only if permission is given. Also, human etiquette: do not approach other people's dogs unless given permission, and NEVER allow children to approach dogs, leashed or unleashed unless given permission and you are prepared to take the risk that "my dog is friendly" a phrase most commonly uttered by people who are clueless.


 COMMENT 362160 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 12:15 PM

As demonstrated by the response to this post, there is always going to be an issue with dogs not on a leash. It is the law and I urge you to feel free to call the police if you feel threatened by a dog off-leash. Although I did just read something about an average response time of 29 minutes, so you may be waiting for a while!

Personally, I feel like many dog owners are a little high strung when it comes to their dog meeting another dog. Dogs pick up on that anxiety - and if everyone would relax a little and let the dogs meet/sniff - and just see what happens, I think most dogs would get along pretty well or just walk away if there's a weird vibe.

Overall, I feel that it is respectful of others to have my dog on a leash for the most part...but will admit that I'm not a total law-abiding citizen - school fields and quiet beaches are the best places for throwing the ball and it is truly priceless to see my dog run as fast as he can thru the puddles at more mesa!!


 COMMENT 362161 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 12:16 PM

There is a world of difference between a dog sniffing and a dog charging and jumping. We are not talking about sniffing. We are talking about charging, whether in playfulness or in attack. Since we've no way of knowing a dog's intentions, I prefer not to be on the receiving end of ANY charge from a dog, large or small, nor of any dog jumping on me just to be "friendly."


 COMMENT 362163P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 12:19 PM

151...I'm a long-term dog lover in good standing. I don't, however, appreciate those who feel exempt from leash laws. Instead of insisting that people with leashed dogs stay calm, how about you follow the simple rule of keeping your dog on a leash? It's the right and legal thing to do.

152...My blind dog is 90#'s and we've had as many problems with small dogs as large ones, maybe even more. ALL dogs need to be leashed unless they're in an unleashed area where there is some acceptance of risk. I really hope I never have to use the pepper spray that I now carry.


 COMMENT 362166 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 12:32 PM

160 sums it up nicely.......too bad most people just don't seem to get it.......


 COMMENT 362167 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 12:32 PM

If you think a dog owner wanting to avoid dogs meeting makes them high strung, realize they know their dog a lot better than you do, so don't try to impose your judgmental attitudes about dog ownership and behavior on them. They're probably trying to protect your dog as much as they are trying to protect their own -- some dogs just don't like other dogs, or they're old, blind, or otherwise intolerant of being approached by other dogs, no matter how "friendly" your dog may be.

And whether or not a person has a dog, if anyone asks you to keep your dog away from them, just do the legal and courteous thing and control your dog -- some people are simply very afraid of dogs and it is not okay to instill fear in others because you refuse to abide by the law.


 COMMENT 362170P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 12:37 PM

This topic has come up so often, and I've decided it's not about the dog, it's just that people are RUDE. Sad but true that anytime you are on a public street you have to be prepared for the many forms inconsideration comes in!


 COMMENT 362173P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 12:48 PM

A few years ago at Christmas I stopped into the crowded, busy GAME STOP store to buy a gift for my son. It was pouring rain out and the store was packed with people. The first thing I noticed as I stepped in was the overwhelming stench of poo and some people making a beeline for the door to escape it. I right away noticed someone with two pugs on a leash in the back of the store at the counter. Then I noticed that the person with the dogs was a famous star from an old sitcom. I looked down to see dog poo tracked ALL OVER THE ENTIRE STORE. One of the dogs had (apparently) unbeknownst to the owner relieved itself. Oblivious shopping customers, most of them children, had unwittingly tracked it all over the store. It was so disgusting. The owner was at the back of the store, at the counter trying so hard to remain anonymous that he didn't even notice the ruckus and mess his dog had made. I am a dog owner but I do not believe that dogs should be allowed everywhere people are. My house, my rules -- don't come over if you don't like seeing dogs on the couch or bed. But in public places, it is not appropriate. Dogs are not people and too many people, even dog owners do not understand dog behavior and are not prepared to take full responsibility for the actions of their pets.


 COMMENT 362174 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 01:01 PM

163P for the win.


 COMMENT 362182 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 01:17 PM

My dog and I run out on the Ellwood Mesa regularly - My dog is leashed - We are continuously approached by other dogs (unleashed) - I realize all dogs are curious. Recently, we have been charged by dogs and unfortunately the dog owners rarely if not ever call their dog off. The sad thing is the owners are so rude that not even a simple "sorry" is ever heard. All blame goes to the OWNERS -


 COMMENT 362183 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 01:19 PM

@131 - Sounds like someone needs to put you on a leash. My advice for the OP is to familiarize yourself with the behavior of dogs. You will see that most all dogs want to greet other dogs and are not trying to attack you. As for the leash, you could ask the owner to restrain their pet or if you want to be a jerk you could call the police / animal control on them. If there was no barking or biting I say no harm no foul.


 COMMENT 362188P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 01:37 PM

Sounds like 183 definitely needs the knee. Some people are just clueless.


 COMMENT 362189 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 01:37 PM

Were either of the dogs pit bulls?


 COMMENT 362191 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 01:38 PM

He's just friendly is a great excuse. Guess what? My dog is NOT friendly, which is why I very carefully control him while on a leash. I'm afraid someday, one of these "friendly" dogs are going to pay for their owner's inconsiderate behavior with a serious injury...


 COMMENT 362197P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 01:45 PM

@183 Being knowledgeable of dog behavior comes in second to being respectful of leash laws. You never know what someone is dealing with when they're out walking their leashed dog. I look hale and hearty but have cancer that has gone to bone and am at risk when your unleashed dog approaches us. I never go to a dog park/off leash area as I'm not willing to put myself or my dog at risk and am perplexed that you would assume considerable risk in allowing your dog to run free.


 COMMENT 362198 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 01:46 PM

Pepper spray... I carry some with me when I walk my dogs and have sprayed more than one aggressive, unleashed dog (aggressive meaning they are actually egging on my dogs, the usually butt sniff is NOT aggressive).

Of course the police usually get called and I tell them that I defended myself and my dogs and they usually cite the aggressive dog owner for not following the LEASH LAW. One dog was taken by animal control as it attacked one of the officers responding.

Then we finish our walk knowing that the world is one dog safer from canine anarchy.


 COMMENT 362199 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 01:51 PM

151 here - I never said my dog is unleashed. In fact, I have yet to let my new puppy OFF the leash as I am still training him to recall.

I'm referring more to my past dogs who, while LEASHED, wanted to sniff other dogs and the owners would freak out.

When you freak out, your dog will freak out. I've had numerous incidents in the past with little dogs nipping my "big" dogs (Rottie and a Lab) while both were leashed. EVERY time it is when the little dog owner starts freaking out.

Train your dog to be relaxed around other dogs!


 COMMENT 362202 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 02:02 PM

183: So rather than you following leash laws, I should just "chill out??"

Your defiance of the law trumps my LEGAL right to be protected from jumping dogs?

Really. No.


 COMMENT 362206 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 02:22 PM

Dogs charging and jumping have, so far, knocked me down at the beach ( didn't see them coming from behind chasing after the ball someone threw in my direction ), ruined my GF's dress, ruined the evening for us as it was too late to arrange for other clothing, ruined the peace and quiet of the neighborhood and ruined my lawn which I will never enjoy unless I want to sit in dog urine.

I have zero respect for dog owners who have zero respect. Next dog gets it in the chops, the cops get called, animal control gets called and a certified letter goes out. Let the dog owner 'chill out' after all that.

If you can't take responsibility for a dog don't have one. It's not a right it's a privilege, a privilege I will see yanked from the next dog owner whose cute little pooch charges or jumps on me or my friends.


 COMMENT 362207 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 02:26 PM

My husband was riding his bike up Romero Cyn trail when an off-leash dog charged and bit his leg. He jumped off and started yelling at a group that were walking down the trail away from this scene. He used his bike as a shield as the dog continued to attack. The people didn't even turn around and just shouted, "Don't worry, he's friendly. He doesn't bite!" My husband shouted back, "He already bit me and if you don't freaking control your dog I'm going to break his neck!" They finally called and after 3 or 4 more lunges, the dog ran after his idiot owner(s). There is NO EXCUSE for owners of dogs to be this irresponsible. I absolutely hate when they assume their dog would never bite. It's 100% owners fault.


 COMMENT 362211 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 02:32 PM

That's why i prefer big dogs. Get a grip people. There are just some dogs who love activity off leash.. like retrievers. Of course the owner should control them. But its nature at work.. It would be like if I were with my baby in the stroller and another family's kids ran over to check out the baby. Kids need to be controled, but not leashed. You need to go to an unleashed dog park and socialize your little dog. Anybody would be traumatized if you were tied down 24/7 and could only socialize at the end of a chain.


 COMMENT 362212 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 02:40 PM

If you don't trust your puppy by the time he is a dog, you shouldn't have a dog.


 COMMENT 362213P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 02:41 PM

My husband was bitten twice while walking. One time he got the license plate of the owner and reported the incident to the police. The dog was impounded, but the owner accused my husband of lying.

He started carrying a small spray bottle of rubbing alcohol with him. When he sprayed it at charging dogs, owners became so angry that one woman threatened to kill him. Is hostility a personality trait of some dog owners?


 COMMENT 362218 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 02:46 PM

Clueless pet owners are like clueless so-called parents. Leash it!


 COMMENT 362220 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 02:47 PM

I wonder how much overlap there is between off-leash dog walkers and scofflaw bicyclists? Are they the same people, or do we have two groups of people that think the laws apply to everyone except them?

Get a grip, indeed -- a firm grip -- on a leash that is attached to your dog's collar.


 COMMENT 362223 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 02:56 PM

212 - not sure what you are talking about. If you are referring to me keeping my puppy on the leash until I've trained him to recall properly, then I think you missed the point.

198, 213P and other "sprayers" - I sure hope you don't come near any off-leash areas! If you were to spray a dog just for approaching you, you'd also probably be receiving a mouthful of knuckles from a pissed off owner.


 COMMENT 362225 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 02:56 PM

It would be very entertaining to watch you explain to the judge that your reason for physically assaulting another person was because fluffy wasn't on a leash. Ironically, I have heard that jail food tastes like dog food.


 COMMENT 362226P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 03:00 PM

Lots of hostility on this board. Interesting that most making the comments are not members of Edhat.


 COMMENT 362234 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 03:24 PM

225, 223 clearly said that you'd be in the wrong spraying dogs for just approaching you in OFF LEASH AREAS.

Choose the conclusion to this response that is appropriate for you:

(A) I hope your aim with pepper spray is as bad as your reading comprehension.


(B) Pepper spray my dog at the Wilcox Property and you get to visit Hendry's Beach 15 seconds later.


 COMMENT 362252P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 03:49 PM

234, 225 appears to have the "my dog, my rules" thought process that you do and would find it "entertaining" to have an annoyed on-leash devotee before a judge for assaulting a believer in off-leash. You two are in accord. Your "reading comprehension" comment is interesting.

Your (B) comment is equally interesting because none of those that believe leash laws should be adhered to have included off leash parks in this debate/debacle. I believe you are the first person that did that.

That said, those that chose to take their dogs to off leash areas should be mindful that these areas aren't a "get out of jail free" card. People are still responsible for the behavior of their dogs, even in dog parks. A friend was bowled over by an exuberant dog dog while at a sanctioned leash-free park and that dog owner was responsible for the medical bills that followed. There is still accountability even in these "ollie ollie oxen free" zones.


 COMMENT 362260 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 03:59 PM

234 - This is 225 here. My post was not aimed at 223. I actually like 223's post. In fact when I was typing mine that post was not up yet. I was addressing 131 who mentioned using their knee to assault dogs and their owners. Sorry for the confusion. I would never use pepper spray on people or dogs. However, pushing someone off of an 80 ft. cliff for doing so is just wrong. I hope you were just playing tough and not being serious. Murdering someone is never the answer to anything.


 CEES agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 04:29 PM

Wow, such hostility in these comments.

I'm a dog owner, bicycle riding, law abiding citizen that never speeds in my car, or talks in a movie theater or lets my child run around a restaurant ;-)

We get it, there are a lot of rude and law-breaking dog owners out there. But it is not limited to dog owners. As our area becomes more dense we need to be better about following rules and common curtesy, while also be more forgiving to slips in judgement (maybe the dog slipped out an gate blown open by the wind.)

In answer to the original post, all dogs must be on leash in a residential neighborhood, unless behind a fence or in the house.


 COMMENT 362323P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 05:52 PM

From some of the posts here, it seems that dangerous dogs belong to dangerous persons.


 AUNTIE S. agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-10 07:21 PM

220 - maybe they're related to trhe red light-runners too.


 COMMENT 362407P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-11 08:01 AM

Ignoring leash laws is pure arrogance.


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