Only under control.
"Heel, ahhhhh, NO, I said heel," was what I heard coming up behind us. After having a quick look over my shoulder and noticing that there was a woman walking a Dalmatian, I heard this commotion. I looked again to judge their distance and speed. We had a few minutes so I calmly moved Luke over to my right side. Luke and I were just finishing up our walk when we were subjected to this ridiculous display of training gone wrong. She continued with her useless words which obviously meant nothing to her dog. Did she think that all the words made it look like her dog was trained? Perhaps.
When I am out in public with Luke; I am uber cautious. He is old and frail and it doesn't take a whole lot to knock him over. So the sight of an unleashed dog sends me into my protective Mother Grizzly mode; it is my job and I take it very seriously. I certainly do not want to hear someone's measly attempts at getting control of their unleashed dog coming up from behind us. But, there we were with exactly this happening; and I was growing angrier by the moment. The owner of this poor dog continued to bellow orders which he clearly did not understand. He most definitely was not heeling; I'm not sure if she even understood what the word meant.
I talk about leash/off-leash a lot and this was most definitely one of those leash moments. The woman had no control over her dog. They got close enough that Luke could now hear the woman yelling and he looked around to see what was going on. He stopped for a moment when he saw the dog; but I coaxed him along so we could finish our walk. I could literally feel my own posture changing as they got close enough to touch us. Honestly, if you have no control over your dog KEEP IT ON A LEASH. Bottom line, really easy to understand. As they passed us her dog wandered closer and closer requiring a laser beam stare from me directed at the owner. She brushed it off saying "I know you want to say hi to that dog, HEEL, AHHHHHHH, NOOO, HEEEEEEL." Really?
They passed us and moved on towards the street. Yep, she was crossing the street off-leash as well. Her dog started smelling the ground as she headed across the street yelling "heel." The dog finally lifted it's head and followed her across the street and onto the path on the other side. Endangering your dog's life like this is just stupid. I am never a fan of off leash on or nearby a street.
When I was in Oregon recently I noted that many of the parks and beaches state that dogs must be on-leash or under direct control, which means within sight and responsive to commands. When we were at the beach I saw both on-leash and off-leash dogs under control, nice. Off-leash does not always mean that your dog should be running around willy nilly, doing whatever they please and not listening. Off-leash should mean under control unless they are contained securely in your own yard. If your dog is not reliable off-leash then they should NEVER be off.
If they are in training, then get the training accomplished before taking off the leash.