7. No owner or keeper of any dog shall cause or permit such dog, whether licensed or unlicensed, to run at large or to be a public nuisance within the Town of Norton or permitted to wander at will on public or private property other than the premises of the said owner of keeper or the premises of another person with knowledge and permission of such other person (APPROVED 9/19/77)
8. No owner or keeper shall cause or permit any dog to run at large within the Town. While on any public way or place, dogs shall be under restraint by the owner or keeper. A dog is under restraint within the meaning of the By-Law if he is controlled by a leash or at heel beside a competent person and obedient to the commands of that person or on or within a vehicle being driven or parked on the street. Dogs running at large will be caught and confined and the owner notified. Owners or keepers in violation of this section will be liable to a fine or not less than ten dollars for each violation. (AMENDED 5/88 & APPROVED 8/30/88) And our Conservation Commission has clearly published usage rules of their various properties that also speaks to dogs:
Pets must be leashed in accordance with Norton’s Leash Law.
The trouble is, when you are in the middle of the woods hiking a trail, who is going to enforce this? These laws/rules, like many others, are there with the expectation that the individuals will follow them. But people break more important laws and rules every day, and go to jail for it. So let’s be realistic, this is a leash law, not an arrestable offense if you break it. Many times I have encountered off leash dogs while on conservation land. From the most heavily traveled open spaces, to the most remote places 2-3 miles into the woods. Having an unknown dog (friendly or not), coming at you full bore is unnerving; and if your dog happens to be fearful, reactive or have a seizure disorder, this type of encounter can turn into an experience that could end up at an animal emergency center. So what can you do when you experience such dogs and their humans? Be prepared!
INTERRUPT THE BEHAVIOR: ·
- Always carry pockets full of tiny training treats or kibble to throw toward the approaching dog (and as far away from you as you can in the direction of the owner). Those few seconds the dog is gobbling up the tasty morsels you just threw, is your golden opportunity to make a U-turn and get outta’ there!
- Carry a tennis ball in your pocket and throw it for the unknown dog in the direction of the owner, thus sending him back to get leashed up.
- Carry a small pocket umbrella and open in the direction of the approaching dog, this works best if the dog is close. This will likely startle the approaching dog and they will back up or maybe even run away, it also works as a physical and sight line barrier between both dogs.
- Sometimes just simply yelling at the unknown dog will be enough to stop them in their tracks.
- Carry an athletic whistle. One quick chirp should be enough to stop the approaching dog. (Be sure to desensitize your dog to the whistle first before using this strategy).
- Carry a small athletic air horn. THIS IS A LAST RESORT. Using this could potentially damage your own dog emotionally and create a reactivity issue where there wasn’t one before, in either dog.
About the Author
About the author
Lee Desmarais is a Karen Pryor Academy Professional Dog Training graduate who has over 20 years’ experience dog training. Lee uses only positive based training approaches, that are scientifically proven techniques. Lee adheres to the Hierarchy of Dog Needs principles and believes that the use of fear, intimidation or coercion is not necessary if you have good training skills.
Photo credit to models and clients Sam and Cody who own the hearts of Carol and Bianca