Are you confused by leash laws? You’re not the only one! Leash laws vary by state, as well as by municipality. Some states require dogs to be on a leash at all times, others are more lenient and still others only require certain breeds to be on leashes. Some laws dictate the length of the leash, others the type of leash. No wonder we are all confused! But, the bottom line is, leash laws are there to protect you and your pooch and hopefully accidents are avoided when the laws are obeyed. They also protect dog owners and non-owners alike. Even though most dogs don’t mean any harm by jumping on others (they’re just excited!) there is still the possibility that an injury can occur, which isn’t good for anyone involved.

With all these, sometimes confusing, laws, it is nice for dog owners when cities provide off-leash areas. Last weekend I went hiking with a friend and her dog in a contained area. Her dog probably ran 10 times the distance we did, but was safe the whole time, it was wonderful! The area was interesting with lots of trees, sticks, hills and streams, everything necessary to keep a dog entertained! Unfortunately, not every city provides these types of areas. Even worse, some cities, such as San Francisco are eliminating or reducing these options significantly. With a little research, you can find out a lot about leash laws in your city, and if there are issues with reducing these areas there is usually good information about what you can do to help.

Leash laws are also changing in cities like Boulder, where they are reviewing their green tag program that allows owners to have their dogs off-leash. Many people don't like the new provisions as they are more restrictive and punish dogs for things like chasing wildlife, which could be as simple as chasing a bird or a squirrel. Boulder residents are not happy with these rules and are hoping that they are reviewed.

Do you like dog parks and off-leash areas? What are some of your favorite places in your city? Have you run into any problems with having your dog off-leash in an area with strict leash laws?