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Do dogs behave better when they have more freedom?

Do dogs behave better when they have more freedom?

Fun interviews with dog lovers from around the world

You might be surprised to hear me say that I am actually a relatively introverted person. Some people may be eager for any chance to be in the spotlight, but I prefer to disappear into the crowd on most occasions. My online presence may seem like a contradiction to this, but in "real life" my favourite way to connect with others is through one-on-one conversations and not as "Dr. Dobias."

I love walks through parks in Prague with Pax, where the term “dog park” doesn’t exist because all parks are off-leash dog parks, with very few exceptions.

Last week, I gathered up the courage to record a few brief conversations with other dog lovers while their pups were happily playing and running with Pax. I had the chance to speak with Emma from Spain 🇪🇸, Miwa from Japan 🇯🇵, Berrak from Turkey 🇹🇷, and David from the Czech Republic 🇨🇿.

Watch the video below.

Recording these interviews was interesting, as it confirmed my own impression that most dogs in Prague enjoy a life of fun and freedom. People in Prague really seem to love dogs; they smile, connect, and often engage in small talk when they see a dog. Dogs are used to interacting with each other and are rarely anxious or aggressive, despite many not being spayed or neutered. Also, parents do not seem to be afraid when a dog approaches their children, which helps reinforce a pro-dog sentiment.

I have written on this topic many times before and am determined not to stop until countries, such as the USA, Canada, and others, recognize how important dogs are to our wellbeing and that it is beneficial to integrate them more. It is an undeniable scientifically supported fact. People with pets live longer and are healthier and happier. (

I respect peoples’ cultural differences but do not think we should bend over backwards and change our rules and laws because of a small minority with a phobia of dogs.

I have had the opportunity to experience life with dogs and different levels of social acceptance in several countries and can see clearly that fewer restrictions on dogs leads to better-behaved canines, fewer humans who fear dogs, and a generally happier society.

I truly wish that the people creating all of these prohibitive bylaws in Canada and the USA could experience life in a place where dogs are allowed in parks, restaurants, and on public transit.

Is there a solution?

Forty percent of families have dogs and many others also love dogs, so it would make sense to let public spaces be used by both of these groups. It would also make sense to create a few areas where dogs are prohibited and allow the rest of the public spaces to be self-regulated and free.

If any of you have the courage to organize such a movement in your local city or town, please connect with my team and we will help you spread the word. My plan is to follow up with you on this topic in the near future when I receive your feedback.

Do you have a fearful or reactive dog?

I understand that it might be scary for fearful and reactive dogs to meet other dogs, but putting other dogs on a leash because of a reactive dog is not the solution. It would only lead to more dogs becoming reactive.

After working with dogs for 30 years, I have seen firsthand that most dogs are fine when given the opportunity to socialize if their humans don’t panic. Of course, there are some exceptions to the rule.

Our society has fallen for the erroneous belief that rules and control are necessary to prevent problems. Most people have also been conditioned to disown and bury their own fears or anger and are subconsciously terrified of seeing such emotions in their dogs. As a result, they react and their dogs may see it as a signal of danger, which makes them agitated.

A real possibility or an unachievable Utopia?

Can you imagine a world where you had the freedom to do as you wish, and the only forbidden behaviour was causing harm or endangering other people, animals, and the environment? I get goosebumps just thinking about it!

I like the premise of dividing everything into two groups:

  1. Their business
  2. My business

Here are some examples of how this could be applied:

  1. Do you have a dog who is well trained, under control, and doesn’t bother or threaten others? If the answer is yes, have your dog off-leash anywhere you wish - as done in Prague!
  2. Do you feel like having a glass of wine with friends in a park? Why not, most European cities are like that. Let's stop hiding alcohol in coffee mugs or soft drink bottles, can we?!
  3. Do you want to go skinny dipping in a lake, or do you prefer to wear a swimsuit? Do whatever you feel comfortable with!

I expect that some people may be appalled by my suggestions, but no one can deny that restricting the above has not put a stop to people drinking in parks, or preventing dog fearfulness and aggression.

No one likes being told what to do, and the freer a society is the happier and safer it is.

What is your opinion? Drop me a line.

About the author

Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM is an Integrative veterinarian, nutritionist and creator of natural supplements for dogs and people. Helping you and your dog prevent disease, treat nutritional deficiencies, and enjoy happier, healthier, and longer lives together.

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