Training

Price of Freedom

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I requested coach and WDJ’s Training Editor Pat Miller to put in writing in regards to the dangers and obligations of off-leash dog walks on this concern. That’s as a result of I’m an enormous fan of mountain climbing with my dogs off-leash, however I acknowledge that the exercise is a big problem for a lot of dog house owners.

I hike with my dogs off-leash a pair occasions every week. I’m supremely fortunate to stay close by a “wildlife area” the place it’s authorized for dogs to be off-leash for a lot of the 12 months (not in the course of the chook nesting season, nonetheless). It has wide-open views, presents a number of areas the place dogs can drink and swim in secure, clear water, and greatest of all, I hardly see anybody else on the market!

But it’s not with out hazards. The space is dwelling to a lot of rattlesnakes, and we see them incessantly within the late summer season and early fall. There is a capturing vary close by, and looking is allowed in varied seasons; some dogs (not mine) are frightened by the sound of gunfire and will spook. There are at all times birds on the assorted our bodies of water we stroll round; dogs who chase waterfowl would possibly take off and by no means be seen once more! And the boundary fenceline we typically stroll alongside is simply barbed wire and cattle graze on the opposite facet; a nave town-dog who decides to crawl underneath the fence in hopes of a enjoyable chase dangers getting stomped by the range-smart mama cows, who defend their calves from coyotes 12 months after 12 months.

To me, the advantages of off-leash walks on this space are well worth the dangers – however I additionally work onerous to ensure my dogs have razor-sharp recollects, that they reply to “OFF!” by halting or turning away from no matter has piqued their curiosity, and that they’ll sit down instantly on cue and keep put till I launch them with one other cue. We observe every of these behaviors each single time we stroll on the market, and I convey high-value treats (and Woody’s favourite squeak ball) to reward them richly for his or her cooperation.

It’s not for everybody. I’ve pals who’re delay by the snakes, others whose dogs are so overstimulated by the water birds that they can’t be let off-leash, and one whose dog comes unglued when she hears gunfire. That’s all tremendous with me; my dogs and I are tremendous with being alone in our (virtually personal) park.

CORRECTION

I inadvertently left Solid Gold off the listing of our accepted dry dog meals in final month’s concern. It was an oversight and completely no reflection on any lapse on the half of the corporate. We have added their firm and product data to the web model of the February concern and can embody this data within the April concern, together with another notes and dialogue in regards to the dry meals assessment.

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