The other day, Foamy went out for a walk. It was a lovely day, so we took our time at the park. Foamy enjoyed the sights and smells. He kept tugging on the leash in excitement, wanting to go explore, go chase some birds, or go “say hello” to other people and dogs, but I called him and tugged on the leash to bring him back to my side.

Things were going well on the walk. Many of the people we’d pass would stop and complement Foamy and ask to pet him, and Foamy just ate up the attention and would give kisses in return.

But then, it happened. Foamy paused to “answer nature’s call” and as I did my duty as a good pet parent and stopped to clean up after him, the leash slipped from my hand. Before I could do anything, Foamy took off running.

I took off after him, calling his name franticly, but by the time I managed to catch up to him, he had chased a poodle and sent it running and had stopped to sniff and kiss a 2-year-old baby. Needless to say, the owner of the poodle and the baby’s mother weren’t too happy with me and I apologized profusely in embarrassment. Then I led Foamy away, scolding him as we made our way from the park. He hung his tail and head in shame as we walked, knowing from the tone of my voice that I was not happy with him.

When you take your dog out, it’s best to keep it on a leash, especially if it’s a larger dog. Foamy, for example, is a Samoyed, which is a somewhat big dog. Larger dogs that run around loose can scare people, since people won’t know if the dog is friendly or not, and without the dog being held on a leash by the owner, there is no control to the dog, so the dog could do anything and that can frighten others. Foamy is generally a friendly dog, but he also gets easily excited about things, and because he’s a bigger dog, if he runs around loose it can frighten other people because they can’t tell what he’ll do.

Many people can train their dogs to be off-leash, and while that can be nice for the owner and can work for many dogs, there’s still the possibility that, no matter how well-trained the dog might be, it could run off suddenly and not listen to the owner when they call the dog to return, and that can lead to many problems. Most parks will require a dog to be on a leash in order to use the park, as a safety precaution, because the leash offers a measure of control over the dog. A leashed dog can be held back from chasing after people, other dogs, and wildlife. A leashed dog can be held back from attacking. It also offers safety for the dog, since the dog can be kept from running out into traffic.

So for the safety of your dog and the safety and peace of mind of those around him, it’s best to keep your dog on a leash when you take him out.