Except for when we'd run into loose dogs.
Usually, their people weren't far behind, but they had no control over the dog, who came running right up to us.
Not only is having your dog off leash illegal, it's also dangerous. Dogs could become lost if they chase a deer deep into the woods, they could come across an person afraid of dogs, or another dog that isn't fond of other dogs.
Lily is leash reactive - meaning she's not particularly pleased to meet a dog when she's on leash. So the dog owner yelling "It's ok, my dog is friendly," doesn't really help very much in that situation. Friendly or not, Lily's not happy.
Our Aussie, Lucky, was dog-friendly, but not people-friendly. So when an off-leash dog approached, there was nothing to worry about. Unfortunately, the off-leash dog would be having so much fun with Lucky that he wouldn't listen to his owner when called to return. And because Lucky wasn't friendly to strangers, they couldn't come in closer to get their dog. It was quite the quandary for the owner -- what to do? Yet another reason to keep your dog on a leash. For your safety, your dog's safety, and the safety of others, leash your dog.
You can find 20-, 30-, and even 50-foot long lines, so your dog can still investigate and explore, but still be under your control. Not everyone likes a dog running up to them. Not every dog does either. So be courteous of those around you and leash your dog.