On-leash canine greetings

Always ask!!!!

She was headed our way with a mission in her step. Her intention was to give her dog the chance to meet my little Jack Russell.  "She's not friendly," I called out to her.  "Oh she loves dogs and wants to say hi," she replied.  I was a little set back by her response and responded "NO."  Turning abruptly, we picked up the pace.  She was one of those dog guardians; the ones that have no intention of listening to my heed. 

Approaching other dogs in hopes of an on-leash interaction without asking first is foolish.  Off leash greetings can go wrong; on-leash greetings can be even worse.  

Leashes can cause all sorts of problems.

1.  Leashes can take away our dog's ability to communicate freely.
2.  Leashes inhibit our dog's freedom of movement.  The inability of moving away can cause many behavior issues.
3.  Leashes are our line to our dog.  Wrong messages can be sent via that line when we deal with our own emotions. 
4.  Leashes can give people a false sense of a well behaved dog.
5.  Leash entanglement is a huge problem for many.

Leashes and communication
- When we attach a leash to our dogs it decreases their ability to communicate freely.  A tight leash, pulling and tugging changes our dog's body language.

Freedom of movement
- If a dog cannot move away, they can become fearful or aggressive. 

Our message
- Our messages are sent down the leash to our dogs.  If you are uptight, anxious, stressful or fearful; your dog will know this and act accordingly.  It's our job to send good messages down the leash.

- Many dog owners think that their dog is very well behaved because they are on leash.  Being on leash and being well behaved are two entirely different things.

- Becoming entangled with other dogs is a very common problem.  Even the friendliest dog encounter can go wrong if they become entangled.

Leashes are a piece of safety equipment.  They are also a line of communication, a problem creator and cause of much confusion.  

Use a leash but think about the leash when you are out with your dog.  A tight leash can do a great deal of damage as far as lack of communication, body language confusion and misread messages.