The Water Cooler – Off-Leash Dogs At The Park

May 13, 2021 12:00 pm · 56 comments

The “Water Cooler” is a feature on where we ask you a question or provide a topic, and you talk about it.

The “Water Cooler” will be up Monday-Friday at noon.

Today’s question:

What’s your opinion on off-leash dogs at local parks (not dog parks)? Do you care if the owner takes them off the leash and lets them run around, or does it bother you when dogs are running around, even if they are well behaved?

Talk about it….

Stove May 13, 2021 at 12:06 PM

I stay away, in their mind it may be a “well behaved dog” , but in reality its everything but a well behaved dog and guarantee will chase anything. Dont trust them, had several chase after me on my bike.

Aunt Barbara May 13, 2021 at 12:12 PM

No dog can really be trusted, especially around children and strangers.
Even the sweetest family dog can snap.
So YES on the leash in public areas and parks

Ilovepopcorn May 13, 2021 at 12:31 PM

Yes! You are exactly correct! How sad it is though that there is no place for dogs to run free.

Martinezmike May 13, 2021 at 1:55 PM

The bigger danger is certain off-leash humans running around.

bobbyhopeful May 13, 2021 at 4:49 PM

YOUR WRONG. Dogs are not the problems it’s the humans who own the. We can trust any dog, it’s the humans who own them that cannot be trusted.

Mommyto12 May 13, 2021 at 5:41 PM

Honestly, strange dogs off leashes scare me. You may know how your dog will act around others, but I don’t.
I don’t want me or my dog to get chased. If your dog suddenly tries to chase a person or another dog, can you catch it? What if another dog comes after your dog? Can you protect it? At least when the dog is on a leash, you can control it or draw it away from danger. Baldwin park has little areas you can close yourself in to let your dog run. That’s ok.

Oh, please May 13, 2021 at 6:27 PM

Bobby- YOU’RE wrong. It can be both. You cannot ignore that dogs may have certain innate instincts that sometimes make them just BAD DOGS.

Well Folks May 14, 2021 at 8:14 AM

Dogs do have a place to run free. It’s their persons yard. If you want to have a dog then have a space at your home for it to run and play.

And I’m a cat lover but if you have a cat keep it in. Your neighbors yard should not be your cat’s litter box

Chicken Little May 13, 2021 at 12:23 PM

If the dog is well-behaved and the owner cleans up after it, I have no problem. If it’s jumping on people, attacking on-leash dogs, etc., then I would expect it to be put back on leash.

revampire May 13, 2021 at 1:37 PM

lol, if it’s attaching on leash dogs something else has better be done than just putting it on a leash.

Jojo Potato May 13, 2021 at 12:34 PM

It bothers me. Parks in WC have signs that explicitly require leashes. In the back lawn of Civic Park I often see dogs being released into the park. But even how bad they behave I know that I should never mention it. Dog owners are very self centered and will never understand that not everyone loves their dog no matter how badly behaved. So I keep quiet or move to somewhere else. Let’s face it dog owners SUCK.

sideline May 13, 2021 at 3:09 PM

wow Jojo.
Those are some harsh words.

stove May 13, 2021 at 3:29 PM

100% true, of all dog owners. Everybody says their dog is behaved, never met a dog like that in public, they are ALL poorly trained by their owners.

Dr. Jellyfinger May 13, 2021 at 7:34 PM

So…. Jojo & stove… not dog owners?
Don’t like dogs or just don’t like their owners?

Cyn May 13, 2021 at 9:26 PM

You’d be singing a different tune had you ever met my black lab. We believed that if we were ever robbed, he would have helped the robbers carry out the goods.

Faceinthecrowd May 13, 2021 at 12:35 PM

They belong on a 6 foot leash. There are at least three good reasons for the rules.
1. Some dogs have very strong chase, and, or, protective instincts. (‘He’s never done that before!’ ‘He only does that with certain people! ..or when you’re afraid!’ ((Like it’s their fault))).

2. Poor, or uneven training/socialization. Poop.

3. People who don’t care for others dogs should be able to use the parks in peace.

Concernicus May 14, 2021 at 9:31 AM

I’ve been attacked by leash-less dogs twice in the past (Both times the dog had escaped a yard they’d been penned up in alone). The first time when I was in elementary school, the other when I was in high school.

While I don’t hate all dogs for it, I definitely do not appreciate being run up on by some strangers dog with no human nearby. Doesn’t matter if they’re friendly, doesn’t matter if they’ve never hurt anybody before. I just don’t need that particular heart attack. It’s like having a stranger run excitedly up to you holding a machete: You don’t know if they’re gonna offer to do landscaping for you, or try to end your life.

theunforgiven May 13, 2021 at 12:38 PM

I don’t care if you think your dog is well trained, put it on a leach! I had two dogs come up to me and try to play because I was jogging by at shell ridge and they try to jump on me standing on their hind legs putting their front paws up on my chest and side getting dirt/mud all over me back in the rain season…

Retailslave May 13, 2021 at 1:17 PM

Keep your dog on a leash at all times, unless at a dog park. It’s a dog. And stop bringing your dogs inside stores.

Future Catlady May 13, 2021 at 2:42 PM


The Wizard May 13, 2021 at 3:57 PM

Yes Yes Yes

Madeline May 13, 2021 at 7:28 PM

YES! People,,leave your dogs at home. Sick of seeing the both of you, especially in Home Depot.

hanne jeppesen May 13, 2021 at 10:31 PM

I don’t have a dog, never did (I’m a cat person) however, when my daughter worked for the San Francisco SCPA she adopted a big dog, a mix, he is now older, but he is very sweet and well behaved, he has some boxer mix among others, he is very good natured with my grandchildren. My daughter never walks him without a leash. As for me I love animals, and think many dogs are adorable French Bulldogs, Pugs, others, I’m not comfortable with bigger dogs that I don’t know, or don’t know the owners, especially pit bulls and German Sheppard’s, heard too many stories of those particular breeds being unpredictable, so as far as I’m concerned dogs should be on a leash, when on a trail or in a park.

Macy’s allow dogs in their stores, at SunValley mall we don’t see many dogs, usually small ones, when I worked at the Palo Alto store, many customers would bring their dogs to the store and usually there were no problem.

Reality says... May 13, 2021 at 1:25 PM

‘Well-behaved” means different things to different people. Just like with kids!

Keep them leashed (your kids too) so I don’t have to spray them when they come at me and my dog while you’re yelling “he’s friendly, he’s friendly!”

100% avoidable problem if people just agree to keep their dogs on a leash when not at a dog park.

revampire May 13, 2021 at 1:35 PM

They gotta be under voice control at all times and not run up to me and my dog who is on leash and learning about himself still. It’s a process and if I wanted my dog to interact with other dogs we’d be at the dog park.

Former Cop May 14, 2021 at 6:46 AM

There is no such thing as voice control. It will not work 100% of the time & all dogs are not nice all the time. Most people & dog owners have no real clue what really happens in parks or elsewhere. Most if not all deserve citations when their dogs “misbehave”. When contacting a dog owner about his “bad” dog..on or off-duty…you see what type of people they really are…Also the rules/laws on the signs in the parks mean nothing to them. & when their precious dog bites humans – they run away like you have never seen – they take no responsibility.

Paul May 13, 2021 at 2:08 PM

I think what everyone is saying, is that a “well behaved dog” is in the eye of the beholder. I like dogs and don’t mind them being around, but some people are just not able to control their dog, or realize the dog is a problem..

Mom-in-Concord May 13, 2021 at 2:28 PM

As someone who has had 3 family members bitten by “really nice dogs,” dogs belong on a leash.

Dorothy May 13, 2021 at 2:39 PM

Since I am allergic to dogs/cats/other animals I would prefer dogs went to dog parks.

ChuckStir May 13, 2021 at 2:47 PM

Back in Concord around 15 years ago a woman let her dog off its leash in a park and the dog ran quite quickly toward a police officer. The officer had no idea what this dogs demeanor was and shot it dead. An incident that could of been avoided if the rules were followed.

sideline May 13, 2021 at 3:13 PM

I keep my dogs on the leash where I am required to.
But….it is ok with me if “well behaved” dogs run free.

It is just like children; if you cannot control your kid, keep them on a leash when out in public.

Schmee May 13, 2021 at 3:15 PM

If I take my dog off leash at a park it’s away from other dogs and people. My dog doesn’t get along with mean dogs. It’s a courtesy to others to keep your dog at a great distance if it’s off leash. My dog is always under voice command as all off leash dogs should be. I can stop her mid sprint towards a squirrel and we play fetch without any voice commands just hand signals.

She’s great with people even toddlers only threat is being licked to death. She was 6 weeks old with a 6 month old baby in the house so she’s always loved kids and adults. Prob because she thinks she is a person.

Jojo Potato May 13, 2021 at 4:42 PM

So how are you with sign that says leash required? You are one of the idiots that I had mentioned. Please go somewhere else with Your animals.

Dawg May 13, 2021 at 3:31 PM

People that let their dog off leash where a leash is required are no different than bicyclists that run stop signs and red lights. Self centered and arrogant, and believe the rules do no apply to them.

Oh, please May 13, 2021 at 6:30 PM

YES!!! Hate the bike riders and dog owners that do this. And, it is most of them.

Anon May 13, 2021 at 11:23 PM

Bicyclist running reds is annoying, but is actual defensible in a tiny number of situations, such as when ascending a big hill. Note how your average bicyclist has trouble even starting from a stop on a severe incline, let alone is able to get back up to a reasonable speed. This is where Ebikes are actually safer. Also really note how many motorists run stop signs, it is easily 10-50% depending on location and time of day.

Of course, it is better that 10 or 50 bicyclists run a red than a single motorist, as those bicyclists pose basically zero threat to cars, while a car running the red light is a lethal proposition. It is a big win when the A-hole takes a bike or motorcycle over a car, his lethality to innocents has just gone waaaaay down.

hanne jeppesen May 14, 2021 at 12:53 AM

Amen to that.

theunforgiven May 14, 2021 at 12:56 AM

There could be no car in sight and if a biker goes through a red you all loose your minds “HES SUPPOSED TO STOP” while you sit in a air conditioned vehicle that you can easily stop and go by simply pushing your foot down.

If any of you actually exercised in your life you would understand why bikers go through it when it is SAFE to do keyword “SAFE”. If there is no car either direction in sight and there is no risk of going through the red then what’s the problem. You karens want to make it a problem so you have something to complain about.

Now if the biker is not looking every possible direction before going through a red to make sure it is safe first then I can agree they are idiots who should not be on a bike on the streets.

Dr. Jellyfinger May 14, 2021 at 7:12 AM

@ Anon ~ Try telling that to a cop.

ranchgirl May 13, 2021 at 3:52 PM

Our dogs are kept on leash, unless we are in a dog park. That is how it should be. Period.

Cautiously Informed May 13, 2021 at 3:54 PM

People who say that their dog is under control 100% of the time don’t really know dogs. Dogs don’t think like humans. All dogs have the potential to do something unexpected, and all dogs bite.

Gititogether May 13, 2021 at 3:58 PM

Off leashing requires a syncopation between pup & owner. Wonderful when done right, but beyond the intelligence of most owners.

Appalachia May 13, 2021 at 6:41 PM

As someone who works in veterinary medicine, do you know how many dogs we get in for laceration repairs caused by off-leash dogs that “were nice”? Hint, it’s a lot.

For the sake of dog/fear reactive dogs that are actually on leashes as they should and the general safety of ALL pets and people, please leash you dog.

It’s not that hard.

I don’t care if you labrador retriever family pet is “nice”. My leash reactive dog would make a snack out of your’s if they dash up into her bubble. So sick of people being straight up irresponsible.

FPN May 14, 2021 at 12:24 PM

Thank you.

anon May 13, 2021 at 8:04 PM

Huge issue, should only be allowed in specific dog parks.

There are thousands of dog attack videos on youtube if you don’t believe me. It doesn’t have to be a pitbull or a german shepard, etc. either, little dogs attack people or other animals all the time.

Dogs off the leash can easily jump into a runner or bicyclists path and cause serious injury, or just try and bite them period. They mess with the wildlife, too. You know birds that nest on the ground and are endangered love it when someone’s 70 lb husky runs into their bush, digs them up, and devours them while their owner yells “Snowstorm! Where are you, girl?”

Chris May 14, 2021 at 1:01 AM

Yes: Dogs are animals and are wild. No amount of training will prevent them from doing what is ingrained into their psyche. I enjoy watching the large pitbulls tear apart the small poodle like dogs. I blame it on the hyper small dogs antagonizing those large well-behaved beasts.

Silva May 14, 2021 at 7:55 AM

I care. My last dog spent his first 6 months in one spot of a backyard at a neighbor’s house, 24/7 at the end of a 4 foot chain. When he became my problem, he was unadoptable through normal channels. He thought it was his duty to kill whatever animals he could get hold of. After a couple of nearly disastrous trips around our block with him (in a muzzle) I realized I was only able take him out to go to the vet, and then he had to be let in through a back door instead of the usual way through a waiting room with other animals. If a nice friendly unleashed family pet was to run up to him to say hi and sniff butts and all the doggy things they do, it would not be a very pretty scene. Not all dogs are as harmless and friendly as yours. Invariably I was told by the owners of friendly unleashed dogs as they bounded towards us, which they always did, “😀He’s friendly!!!” The problem was that mine most definitely was not. I kept him away from public spaces whenever possible, but there are people with not so friendly dogs who do not.

The Fearless Spectator May 14, 2021 at 9:25 AM

That’s like asking do I mind if someone runs a red light as long as the cars might not crash?

Off-lead only at the dog park. And those “expando-leads” need to go also. They allow a dog to build leverage and dump even a large owner on their rear end.

Lastly, there are the dog owners that approach my dog (she is always on a six foot lead and by my left side) with that “Let’s see what they do attitude”. Well, they are likely to do one of two things. One of them is fight, and the other I can’t mention here. I don’t find either of these potential outcomes especially desirable. Go experiment elsewhere.

SF oh May 14, 2021 at 10:29 AM

Dogs should never be off-leash in a public area. Not only aggressive dogs but friendly ones also. I was in the park one day with my grandson, who was about two years old at the time. He was walking around in the grass when a sweet, friendly, small dog ran up to him and started licking his face. I immediately picked him up to get him away from the dog. The owner ran up and said, “she loves kids!”. Ok great – I love dogs too. But I love my grandson a lot more and I did not like a dog, that I have never seen before, licking his face! I wouldn’t even let my own pet lick his face!! Off-leash in a dog park is fine. Anywhere else…no.

Chuq May 14, 2021 at 11:34 AM

This drives me nuts. Especially at Paso Nogal park which has a specific area for dogs to be off leash but people just walk all over the paths with their dogs running ahead of them off leash.

The worst is when their dog runs up to you and either jumps up or tries to lick you and their owner from yards away shouts to you “It’s ok he’s nice!”

Jojo Potato May 14, 2021 at 12:58 PM

I’m always tempted to yell back, “But I’m not!”. This is a perfect example of how stupid dog owners are. Sure the dog is nice in your house where you are feeding and cuddling him. But in an interaction with a stranger that’s out the window. I have given up on dog owners.

Good day friend May 16, 2021 at 6:06 PM

“I’m nice, too, so you won’t mind if I run up to you wag my rear and lick you, right?”

FPN May 14, 2021 at 12:35 PM

Yes dogs need to be leashed. I was at a park in Vacaville. Big sign posted no dogs in playground. Woman walks by sign and unleashes her pitbull inside the childrens playground. My granddaughter was in the playground playing. It was very upsetting. I took my granddaughter out of the play area until women left.

J May 14, 2021 at 2:47 PM

I walked my leashed dog around Concord Parks for years. I usually didn’t worry about dogs off leash. It was the leashed dog who had a very nervous owner who cut a wide path around us that bothered me. Why a person thinks it is okay to walk a lunging, snarling leashed dog in public is beyond me. If your dog is mean, it should wear a leash AND a muzzle and you better outweigh it by a considerable amount, better yet, stay at home.

Whenever I hear an owner say to his leashed dog “be nice” I know it is time to move along. I don’t want my bite sized dog to be a social experiment for an unpredictable snapping monster.

bobbyhopeful May 16, 2021 at 12:16 AM

@Oh, please….Asked Cesar and he said your wrong!!

Kat May 18, 2021 at 6:43 AM

I love dogs. I have a small Jack Russell/Chihuahua mix. But I have to agree that all dogs should be leashed. I used to have a small Chihuahua. She didn’t like children and would growl and snap at them if they tried to pet her. I kept her on a leash but people with their kids would always come up & try to pet her because she was small & cute. One little kid just wouldn’t listen when I told both he & his mom that she isn’t friendly with children. He almost got bit & I got a dirty look from his mom when he started to cry; as if it were my fault that her child didn’t listen.
I personally have a fear of big dogs due to 2 incidents that happened when I was only 4 years old. If I get a chance to get to know the dog, then I’m usually ok but if a big dog that I don’t know runs up to me it is terrifying. Sp yes people need to keep their dogs on a leash.

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