No question about it: exercise without a leash is a must for every dog! Step on the gas or romp around undisturbed with your fellow species – that’s good for body and mind. Perhaps you have already noticed: Free-roaming dogs are usually quite relaxed with each other or, in the worst case, simply avoid each other. If two leashed specimens meet, aggressive reactions occur significantly more often. The reason: Our jerk on the leash not only brakes the dog in its gait, but also briefly forces it into a posture that signals dominance and readiness to fight. The other dog reacts to this provocation or sends the same signals involuntarily and the two cannot smell each other.
The ignorant owner also changes his behavior promptly: the more often it comes to such tensions, the less often he dares to let the dog off the leash. After all, the animal seems to be aggressive! People probably get more and more nervous themselves as soon as they see another dog and signal to their four-legged friend that danger is imminent – a vicious circle. So we are well advised to let the dogs live out their way of communicating. Without a leash, they can not only play with each other, but also maintain their rituals and gain experience with other conspecifics.
Dogs that are never allowed to run free get the same health problems as people who never play sport: They tend to be overweight, have problems with their joints and their hearts, and a life like this is not exactly conducive to mood: a lack of exercise leads to problems in dogs inevitably to aggression and behavioral disorders.
The fact that dogs need to be outside doesn’t mean that you can live out this need without considering the rest of the world. In the city center, near busy roads, and anywhere where there are lots of people, a dog definitely needs to be on a leash. By the way, a dog, unlike you, doesn’t have the slightest fun on a shopping tour in the city or a visit to a folk festival. If you want to do something really good for him, just leave him at home on such occasions.
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