Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Albuquerque, NM
I trust all my dogs off-leash. We do extensive hiking and backpacking off-leash and have encountered most kinds of wildlife from rabbits to deer/elk/moose and bear...I think the only thing I haven't run into with dogs is a cougar. The rabbits are the hardest actually! LOL
I don't let them off-leash in more populated areas, though. It's not that I don't trust my dogs, it's that I don't trust myself to watch them closely enough or other people to not do something stupid. It would only take a moment for my dog to dart out in traffic or whatever. The distances are just much closer than with wildlife, even playing fetch in an unfenced park or something.
I'm also conscious of other people, because I know that I am always a little wary when I encounter an off-leash dog, even when it appears to be under control. I've just had too many experiences where a dog is in a heel or playing fetch and then spins off to come visit me as its owner helplessly calls it. I don't like it, so I won't subject others to it if I can help it. My dogs stay on leash on popular hiking trails for this reason as well; it's only when we get out into the remote areas that I let them off.
The rowdy dogs:
Hector-2 y/o GSD (mix?) rescue
Scooter-12 y/o ACD/Border Collie mix
Bandit-8 y/o ACD
Wooby-14 y/o ACD
Abutiu "Abi"-ACD puppy and hopeful future SAR dog!