10 good reasons to leash your dog

1.  Be a good neighbour.

Not everyone likes dogs.  Some cultures perceive dogs in ways that may differ from your own so even a friendly dog running up to them is very distressing.  Someone truly afraid may act out of fear and injure your dog.  Property owners can be particular about dogs on their lawns.  A dog on a leash shows that you are in control of your dog and that you respect those who wish to keep their distance from your dog.  It is good neighbor policy to keep your pet on leash and from becoming a nuisance to others around you.

2. People can be injured by loose dogs.

Whether intentional or not your dog could bite, knock over, or injure someone.  Legal action could arise and under the Dog Owner’s Liability Act (DOLA) it states that a dog could be deemed dangerous if;

  • “A dog has bitten or attacked.
  • The dog has behaved in a manner that poses a menace to the safety of persons or domestic animals.
  • An owner did not exercise reasonable precautions to prevent a dog from biting or attacking or posing a menace to the safety of persons or domestic animals.”

The law could judge that your dog be euthanized, even if your dog was provoked to bite. Keeping your dog leashed helps you control them and mitigates the circumstances, showing the owner is “exercising reasonable precautions”.

3. Loose dogs get into more fights with dogs and other animals.

An off-leash dog could wander into another animal’s territory provoking a fight.  Leashed dogs could perceive an unleashed dog as a threat (either to the owner or to his personal space in the leash zone) and is likely to lunge or snap.

4. Wildlife has a place too.

Your best friend can become nature’s enemy if taken off a leash and allowed to run free.  Dogs that leave trails destroy the homes of ground-nesting birds, stress small mammals, destroy plants, leave feces that disrupts the natural balance of the ecosystem, and they are susceptible to the rabies virus through wildlife they may encounter.

5. Leashed dogs are rarely hit by cars.

No dog responds 100% of the time to commands.  A leash can help you pull your dog to safety when a driver is too close.  On the other hand, unleashed dogs can cause car accidents when drivers try to avoid hitting a loose dog.

6. Lowers costly veterinary bills.

Leashing your dog is the best way to keep your dog from becoming sick or injured on your walks.  Dogs are known to eat many things they shouldn’t and roaming dogs could drink contaminated water, tread through pesticides, be exposed to ticks, poison oak, or plants that have thorns and burrs.

7. Unleashed dogs eliminate at will.

This will make you very unpopular with your neighbours.  Owners that do not scoop will incur a fine.  Dog that are not dewormed completely leave, parasitic worm eggs can be transmitted from feces to humans causing blindness (particularly with small children).

8. It is a good birth control device.

If your dog has not been spayed or neutered it is probably because you are hoping to breed your pet.  Leashing is one of the best ways to preventing random mating and unwanted puppies.

9. Loose dogs give dog owners a bad name.

Every dog allowed off leash is another piece of evidence for those citizens who prefer that dogs be banned from all public places.  Discourteous dog owners are causing dogs owners to lose the ability to take their dogs to places they formerly could take them. Go out of your way to be courteous when handling a dog. Demonstrate that dog owners can be good neighbours.  If people have a right to expect that dogs they encounter in that location will be on leash, stick to the rules. Otherwise the next rule change may be “No Dogs Allowed.”

10. It is the law! Plain and simple. Know the laws that affect you as a dog owner.


A dog must be on a leash no greater than 1.8 metres (6 feet) in length when on a public thoroughfare, trail, or park.  The fine for failure to do so is $35 plus a $5.00 victim surcharge.

Dogs must be under a person’s control at all times (on and off leash) and kept at a distance of 1 metre from other people, animals or birds.  Extendable leads are not permitted and dogs are not allowed in any wading pool area, playground, or occupied sports field.  In an off-leash area the dog must be within sight and earshot and respond to voice command.

Running at large

Dogs “running at large” (not on the premises of the owner and not under the control of any person) can be impounded by an animal control officer.  Fees include:

  • Impound fee is $50 plus $15 per day.
  • A fine of $60 plus a $20 victim surcharge.
  • Proof of licensing is required, or subject to a $75 fee plus the cost of a license.

A dog not claimed after 3 business days falls to the discretion of the Manager of the Guelph Humane Society (GHS), however it is GHS policy to hold a dog for a minimum of 5 business days before assessing for adoption.


Anyone controlling an animal is responsible for the removal and sanitary disposition of any excrement of the animal. Could carry a maximum fine of $5000 upon conviction.

Leash-free areas

Dogs may run off-leash and under control on unoccupied sports fields from May 1st to September 14th from 8:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. September 15 to April 30 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m.

The benefits of leashing your dog

  • It is a great way to show your affection to your pet, as the touch of it gives your dog definite assurance that it is protected, loved, and wanted.
  • It can be an identification service when the collar is attached with a current license.
  • It is a crime prevention device.  A dog that is attached to you will ward off anyone seeing you out walking as an “easy mark”.
  • It mitigates legal issues that may occur if your rambunctious pet attacks and hurts another person or animal.
  • You are seen as a good owner, and promote good canine citizenship.  You are respectfully allowing  others to enjoy the public space too.


Guelph Humane Society LogoGuelph Humane Society Inc. – “Over a Century of Caring”


500 Wellington Street West., Guelph, ON, N1H 6L3
Website: www.guelph-humane.on.ca
Telephone: 519-824-3091


The Guelph Humane Society is a registered charitable organization that relies solely on private donations, special events and fundraisers to fund its many programs and services!