I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
October 1, 2018
If you spend any time at all on Nashville’s park trails and greenways, you know they come with a major drawback: A whole lot of people who use them don’t think their dog needs to be on a leash. There are so many reasons why this is a bad idea, both for the off-leash dogs and for the people and animals around them. But for the purposes of this post, let’s stick with the main reason: IT’S AGAINST THE RULES.
Unfortunately, the signs that make these rules crystal clear don’t seem to be having an impact. Also, we have a lot of newcomers here now, newcomers who enjoy saying things like, ‘Shut the f$! up!’ when a rather charming cyclist politely requests that they leash their dog after said charming cyclist almost crashes into a tree trying to avoid it.
I may or may not be speaking from experience.
Look, I get it. Adulting with a dog is hard. But I’m here to tell you, dog owner, that you can do hard things. And I’ve decided to help you by creating this FAQ. It should clear up any questions you may have about our leash laws.
Q: My dog’s super friendly. He chases people sometimes, but he’s never bitten anyone. He doesn’t really need a leash at the park, does he?
A: Oh, Janice. No dog has ever bitten anyone — until it has. Keep your dog on a leash.
Q: We don’t have to follow Nashville’s leash laws if we’re actually from California, though, right?
A: Wrong. Welcome to Nashville. Keep your dog on a leash.
Q: Our furbaby is our child. You wouldn’t put a leash on a child, would you?
A: Totally depends on the child. Keep your dog on a leash.
Q: So my dog’s leash is attached to him, but I can’t hold onto it right now because I had to take this important call. Cool?
A: Not cool. Keep your dog on a leash. Keep the leash in your hand.
Q: My dog and I are free spirits and leashes don’t really vibe with our aesthetic. Can’t I just control him with my positive energy?
A: No. Keep your dog on a leash.
Q: Holding a leash in my hand but not actually attaching it to my dog is okay, though, right?
A: Wrong. Keep your dog on a leash.
Q: I have a fifth generation pedigreed Japanese Akita that won top honors at the Purina Italia Cup in 2014.
A: Why are you telling me this? Keep your dog on a leash.
Q: What if it’s raining?
A: Wear sturdy shoes and keep your dog on a leash.
Q: I have a note from my dog’s psychologist stating that leashes traumatize him. So do I have to keep him on a leash?
A: No. But you do have to keep him off our park trails, sidewalks, and greenways.
Q: What if I agree to keep my dog on a leash half the time we’re on the trail?
A: It doesn’t work that way. Keep your dog on a leash.
Q: I’m planning an Instagram fashion shoot with my dog and I have 62.3K followers. So it really doesn’t make sense for me to…
A: Imma just stop you right there. Keep your dog on a leash.
Q: What if there’s hardly anyone else on the trail?
A: Doesn’t matter. Keep your dog on a leash.
Q: So my dog’s on a leash now, but it’s 50 feet long! He can STILL go wherever he wants and there’s NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT! LOLZ.
A: Actually, the posted signs say your leash can only be 6 feet long.
A: Yep. Keep your dog on a (6-foot) leash.
Q: My dog’s super smart and knows to get out of the way of bicycles. You do realize there is absolutely no need for her to be on a leash?
A: And yet I haven’t found a single dog that’s understood me when I’ve said, “On your left!” “MOVE, dog!” or “Oh s@!*! I’m about to crash into you!” So until that happens, keep your dog on a leash.
Q: My dog’s leash doesn’t match my outfit today.
A: No1Curr. Keep your dog on a leash.
Q: I’m a member of the Freewheeling Primitive Evangelical Bapthodist Church and we don’t believe in leashes.
A: In that case, the city doesn’t believe you should bring your dog to a park trail or greenway.
Q: But I’m Taylor Swift.
A: Nice to meet you. Keep your dog on a leash.
Still want to let your dog go off-leash? I’ve got good news for you! Nashville has SIX DIFFERENT DOG PARKS just for this very purpose! Go for it!
But if you want to walk with your dog on a city park trail or greenway? Do us all a favor.
Keep your dog on a leash.
Got a question not covered here? Feel free to leave it in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer!