Two weeks ago, my wife and I went to Belize for a much-needed vacation. One thing that is impossible to not notice is the huge number of dogs that live in Belize. The other thing that's impossible to miss is that almost none of these dogs are on leashes.
From talking to one of the locals in Belize, apparently the country had little concept of keeping dogs as pets until about the past 15 years or so as more "euros" have moved to Belize and introduced the concept. So with the concept of dog "ownership" being very new, the idea of leash laws and "indoor" pets is completely foreign.
What was really interesting was that of all of the dogs we met when we were in Belize (and it was a lot of them -- including the one shown with my wife), none were at all dangerous dogs. They were all wonderfully socialized and very friendly with people and other dogs.
This of course was quite a contrast to how you'd feel in the United States if dogs were left to run on their own. And given this, it was hard not to think of an article that I saw at goodpooch.com (a Canadian organization) that discusses how leash laws have cut down on socialization and as such, have made dogs more aggressive. It is an outstanding article, and well worth the read.
I'm not advoacting that we rid ourselves of leash laws, I just think it's all further evidence of the importance of socializing your dogs. All dog owners, regardless of how responsible they are, will find themselves in a situation where either a) their dog will have somehow found its way out of the yard and will be on the loose or b) another unleashed dog will find its way to you and your leashed dog.
Any dog owner who hasn't experienced one of these two (or both) please let me know.
The key point is that you have to know how your dog is going to react in that situation. A well socialized dog will be little problem. A poorly socialized one will potentially end up making the news the next day.
Spending 11 days in a country with no leash laws, almost no vets, no animal control officers and thousands of dogs is pretty compelling evidence to me that what is said in the goodpooch article (I'm going to link there again because you definitely need to read it) is not only logical in theory, but is provable in practice as well.