When I first got to Minnesota, I'd never walked on a leash. I knew how to sit, shake and even lie down when requested. But it takes a lot of practice and patience to keep pace, lock and step, with a biped. Once I figured out that A Walk means we walk -- not run, sniff, chase squirrels or anything else on a dog's short list -- we got it sorted out.
Leashes are important for urban animals. Not only do they keep animals and humans safe, they level the canine playing field... as long as everyone follows the rules. There is nothing more uncomfortable than being on a leash when an unleashed (lucky) dog bounds up. I don't care how friendly the owner says it is. It makes me snarl. If I am tied up, then everyone else should be too!
The other day, I saw my neighbor out walking his cat. It was bark-out-loud funny. Cats DO NOT understand leashes. That is because their brains are the size of a a piece of dried dog food.
This is not my neighbor's cat. But it makes me laugh.
My other neighbor doesn't leash his cat. Or his dog. But he is a very good citizen.
He leashes his tortoise.
It is a very large tortoise. So I keep my distance. And I am glad it is leashed. If tortoises ran free, it would be anarchy.