@eeeefarm said in How did you get your basenji to walk off leash?:
I agree with Debra that you can never guarantee a dog will be safe off leash. OTOH, you really can't guarantee they will be safe on a leash! ...
Off leash, to me, depends on the owner, the dog, and the circumstances. I would not say "never". I would say use good judgement and don't take anything for granted, including thinking that a leash is a no fail solution. Dogs have been hit by cars while firmly attached to a leash (particularly to a flexi)!
I have heard people justify no seat belts for the same reason. They talk about the exceedingly rare "trapped in burning car" scenario... ignoring all the overwhelming research and statistics. I just can't stand to see that used as some rationale for making off-leash as a reasonable safe alternative. No one said you can guarantee safe on a leash... a pack of dogs can attack you, you could trip and drop the leash, have a heart attack, or simply not be informed enough to have good secure leash/collar (btw, I hate flexis!). But most the time, if you have a line on your dog, you have massively increased the chances that in case of some emergency or prey drive kicking in-- you got it. Just not having a leash on your dog to not have one simply makes no sense to me.
Have I heard of a dog killed on leash.. yes. But I have heard of 1000 x more dogs lost off leash. I see postings regularly on the rescue sites. To me, my dogs lives are not worth off leash anywhere where there is anything but the most limited traffic. Even then... I have heard of no one camping whose dog got lost/killed who hiked with a leash. The number of people who have lost dogs without is many. What people do with their dogs is their own right... legally they are just property. But I take as much care of my dogs safety as I did my child when she was young. That's just me.
I also know with my non-basenjis, I took risks with them loose on my friend's farm. But I had worked them from puppy hood on solid recall and I accepted the risks. Like you said, depends on dog and owner. They liked to hang with the horses, check out the pond, sometimes take a swim. But at home, I don't go from house to car without one on. That's just me. And while I have had Larry let dogs out, none have been an issue to get back in, whether with simply calling, or getting in car and saying "let's go", or a treat. But my heart stopped every time it ever happened. It has been a decade since any dog here got out because eventually we got Larry trained.
Nothing is fail safe. But like the Arabs say, trust in G-d but tie your camel.