We love dogs. There’s no denying that, and there’s no reason to do so. But as much as we love our dogs, we have to consider what we can do to keep them, and others, safe.
Redditor Impressive_PP has a dog they love and take care of, providing plenty of training and play for the pet. However, a new neighbor complains about how the original poster (OP) likes to go about taking their dog around the neighborhood.
OP thinks their neighbor is being a little too restrictive. So they decided to ask the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) about their situation.
The question at hand is:
“AITAH for telling a neighborhood runner I wouldn’t leash my dog?”
And since dogs are involved, people are very passionate about the response.
“We live in country suburbs (neighborhood is surrounded by farmland). The neighborhood is full of transplants in the tech industry (neighborhood is brand new, still building houses).”
“We have a golden who is incredibly well trained, and walks no more than 3 feet ahead of us, or beside.”
“We were walking toward the fields to play fetch and a man started running towards us. He stops a few feet away and asks us to leash our dogs.”
“We said ‘No thank you.’ He said ‘What if I was afraid of dogs! What if I was allergic!?’ I said, ‘Well then you shouldn’t be sprinting towards an unleashed dog.’”
“He didn’t like that answer, and I explained to him that we are essentially in the country and he is trained to be off leash. And it’s very clear that he would never hurt anybody, because he is a stranger who is raising his voice and our dog hasn’t reacted whatsoever…sitting pretty by our side.”
“He told me I must be having a bad day. I calmly said, ‘Not at all. I told you no, we won’t be putting him on a leash and you aren’t getting your way.’”
“He threatened calling the HOA. I laughed and told him to take my picture while he’s at it, and I’ll give him my address. 🤷🏻♀️”
OP has a very well-trained dog and tends to walk him off leash. However, their neighbor doesn’t like that, and thinks the dog should be leashed unless in a designated off-leash zone.
On Reddit, the users of the board judged OP for refusing to leash their dog despite their neighbor’s protests by including one of the following in their response:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
Dogs can be incredibly well-trained animals. They’re one of our best domesticated animals. However, they aren’t robots. They’re still animals who can be spooked or scared and react unpredictably.
On the other side, leashing isn’t just to protect others from your dog. It’s also to protect your dog if something happens and you need to pull them away from a dangerous situation.
If your local laws or ordinances require you to leash your dog, then you need to leash your dog.
The commenters agreed that the neighbor was right, and OP should leash their dog.
“YTA. Leash your dog unless you’re in a designated off-leash area.”
“I honestly don’t get people like you. What weird ego trip do you get from having your dog off leash?”
“If your dog isn’t going further than three feet from you, how does a leash harm anything? Stop finding weird irresponsible hills to die on, life is short.” – Temporary_Badger
“op is TA”
“its all good and well to have your dog trained, but what if the dog ran into another untrained dog? 3ft isnt far, but it is when its the speed of an attacking dog.”
“if someone was afraid of dogs, yours being offleash would make them nervous. this guy complaining probably isnt, but still. and everyone reacts differently.”
“what if someone hurt your dog, and the dog was busy defending itself so it couldnt hear your command to return.”
“what if the guy coming at you was getting closer so you could hear him, or create distance between himself and someone he may have with him who is afraid of dogs. of course not the case here, but you never know.”
“edit: this guy was out for a run? because that makes OP the bigger AH for telling a guy to not run towards his dog… on a path…where people run… that he is going the opposite direction of. the guy stopped at a distance, obviously uncomfortable.”
“unexpected things happen, even in the bush where it feels like no one will be around to care. obviously someone cared.”
“get an extendable leash, or at least bring one to clip on for 20s to make them shut up. Solved.” – elly996
“YTA. Get ready to be roasted by everyone on this subreddit. Doesn’t matter how well trained your dog is, your dog is still an animal and can be unpredictable.”
“Don’t take the risk. Leash your damn dog.” – bartsca
“So many ‘I walk my dog off leash’ people seem to think that as long as their dog is not a danger it’s fine, completely ignorant that half the reason we keep our dogs on leash to to protect them from danger.”
“If OP is walking in the country, there’s going to be dangerous wildlife around, bobcats, coyotes, snakes. If it’s around farmlands there’s going to be farm vehicles like tractors and dirt bikes, and animals like horses, donkeys and even other dogs like livestock guard dogs who aren’t afraid to attack a strange dog wandering around in their area.”
“Not to mention dog is going to dog. Dog might see small animals they want to chase, like birds, rats, squirrels, chickens. Or get spooked by loud noises and run off into the wilderness or traffic.”
“All it takes is just a small accident for the off-leash AHs to be singing a different, sadder tune.” – CrimsonPromise
“YTA you’re my least favorite kind of dog owner ‘my dog is perfect so he doesn’t need to follow the generally accepted rules’” – PantagruelsMonster
“YTA. I don’t care how well trained you consider your dog. If it’s required by law in your area for the dog to be leashed, then damn it, put Fido on one.”
“You don’t get to put others at risk just because you say he won’t react. Trust me, even the most friendly of pets can be set off by something and once that happens, the damage is done.” – PhoenixEcho1
OP didn’t take all this lying down and did try to defend themself. They’re insistent that the dog is very well trained and has no reason to be on a leash.
The commenters shut down that line of thinking.
“You are the worst type of dog owner. Leash you dog, always, unless it’s an unleashed area.”
“You have no idea if a person has PTSD from a dog attack, if they have an aggressive/reactive dog, or just don’t want to be approached by a potentially deadly animal (which dogs are).”
“LEASH YOU EFFING DOG.” – Impressive-Solid9009
“My dog does not approach other people, because he is trained.” – Impressive_PP (OP)
“Still not getting it huh?” – poetrigorl
“You gave me three instances that would require my dog to approach someone for it to be a dangerous situation. None of them apply. Because my dog is well trained.”
“I get many people claim their dog is trained, when they actually aren’t.” – Impressive_PP (OP)
“Your dog is completely trained?”
“So you trained it what to do if it is attacked by another dog? A deer? A bear? A lion?”
“You trained it how to respond in an earthquake?”
“You trained it how to stay calm when a car crashes nearby?”
“You trained it on what to do if someone hits you? Do you have it bite the attacker or get help?”
“What commands do you give it if a crate of perfume is dropped nearby and it is overwhelmed by smells?”
“What commands does it know to respond to a zombie outbreak.”
“I know those examples sound improbable and ridiculous….but that’s the point.”
“No matter how intensely you’ve trained your dog, it is not a human being and cannot understand the complexities and legalities of a human dominated world.”
“It is impossible to train for everything, but by leasing your dog, you can help guide it in case of emergencies.”
“Think of it like a doggie seat belt. People don’t wear seat belts because they think they’re bad drivers, they wear them to protect themselves from dangerous surprises.” – pthepuff
“Are you really so dense that you don’t realize that someone from your community can report you and have your dog FORCIBLY TAKEN?”
“I’ve seen this happen for less and I’ve worked in the vet field for half a decade. Your out to lunch and your going to lose your animal if you keep it up.” – Krissy_Twostep10
The dog should be protected if you’re really worried about him, but it seems OP is more concerned with bragging about how trained the pet is. Look up your local laws and make sure your dog is leashed unless you’re in a designated off-leash area.