That is the answer to the often-asked question: Why does my well-behaved dog need to be on a leash?
It is fun to let our dogs run off-leash, and a chance to practice commands and obedience. So why does the city of Port Townsend, and virtually 100 percent of area towns, cities and counties require dogs to be leashed (not roaming free)?
Of course, there are the usual reasons (safety of people and dogs, destruction of property, pooping, causing vehicle accidents, etc). But what if you know that your dog, being so well-trained, would never cause any of these problems, or bother anyone when walking on trails or sidewalks?
Think about other people you may approach on sidewalks, trails, in stores; and imagine yourself in their place. This is called empathy. When people see a strange dog off-leash; their usual thought is "What is this dog going to do?”
Other people may be scared of dogs, may have been traumatized before, may have small dogs they fear may be attacked, may have small children, may be elderly and fear being knocked down; and if biking, fear the dog may chase or collide with them. Others have no idea what your dog is going to do.
This brings on anxiety, worry, stress, even fear, and may cause them to react negatively.
Even if you know for sure that your off-leash dog would never do any of these things, others do not know this. A leashed dog sends a signal that the dog is under control and not going to cause a problem, enabling others to relax and enjoy the passage. It sends a message that you are considerate and respectful of others. Please empathize with others sharing our community and leash your dog.
J. Ed Robeau