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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was wondering what I could do to get Bailey more off leash time to get her energy out. Right now we are on 2 walks a day - and most of the time we are gone for an hour each time. Our backyard right now isn't so ideal they are some berries falling down from our neighbors yard and I don't know if they are bad (our previous dog got a bloody diarreah and I never knew if it was from these berries) and we have so much dirt outside.

What do you do to get them off leash time and how is your puppy when you call them, are they coming back easily? We have only big football grass areas and around are streets so I don't really feel safe to let her off leash there.

We have a dog park just a few minutes from our house, but I don't know if I can already bring her there. I don't want her to get into any bad experience with a dog at this young age. When did you start with dog parks?

Should I get a longer leash and let her run around with this one?
 

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Chester & Murphy's Mom
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We got Chester a long leash...it is 15 or 20 feet. I got it at Wal-mart...so much cheaper than the pet stores in our area. I think it was maybe $8.00. We take him to our local park when we use it....he is funny, he keeps looking back to find us. He is used to the short leash on neighborhood walks. Chester also likes the dog park...we have two the closer one is often packed with dogs...but he has always done pretty good.
 

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Loki's mommy
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I use a 30 foot leash when I take Loki to the beach near my house. It gives him enough room to run and he comes back as soon as I call him but I don't trust him enough that he won't take off after a bird and ignore me.

The first time I took him to the dog park I was a little worried so I kept him on the leash and let him meet the other dogs. Once I saw he was going to be ok I let him off the leash. I didn't take him to the dog park until he was almost a year old, but he had been around other dogs for his classes.
 

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Are there any fenced in baseball fields (or tennis courts) in your area that don't have signs saying "no dog"? There are several baseball field near where I train, and as long as nobody is using them I will let my dogs run around in them. However, if you do this, make sure you bring bags and pick up after your dog!
 

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In the Moment
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NOT a dog park fan. When our goldens were pups, our vet told us that he stitches several dogs a week from dog park incidents. Many people don't control their dogs, and there is no way of knowing of the health or temperment of the other dogs there. I especially would avoid taking a young pup unless you have a park that, like some, has memberships, does temperment testing etc. MHO
 

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I have two 30 foot leashes that I have used for my dogs when I take them to the beach that does not allow dogs to be off-leash. It allows them plenty of room to run and play but they are still 100% under my control and I can reel them in if I need to. Plus it gets around that pesky leash law lol
 

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Now Caue's Dad Too!
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Puppies don't usually range too far from their people but it is always a bit scary they first time you unsnap that leash. I live in a small town and have used fenced baseball diamonds, soccer fields, cemeteries for the first time off lead. Always bring lots of very tasty treat with you when you take your pup off lead and call them often. Don't use the "Come" command until you are sure they will come. Instead use their name or C'mon until they are making a beeline towards you. Be sure to treat and praise generously and be sure that you grab the collar every time they come to you. This will get them used to the fact for when you really do need to grab the collar. Practice this every time your pup is off lead many many times until your pups 16th birthday. Good luck to you.
 

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Can you use any regular parks? I find many city/suburban parks ideal for dogs...often better than here in the countryside! No manure and no sheep! I don't really like the idea of specific 'dog parks'...we don't have them here but the thought of dozens of dogs all running in a small enclosed space is a bit of a worry for me.

For recall just practice with tatsy treats and she will get the hang of it quickly...start young would be my only tip!
 

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Something we do with Rosie is to let her off-leash in hockey rinks. This time of year, they don't have ice, and they're just a big weedy, enclosed area. Perfect for letting her blow off some steam. We have a huge dog park near us. It's got beautiful trails through the woods, as well as some open field space. We haven't taken her there yet. I'm also worried about her having a bad experience with another dog at a young age. I wondered if it would help to go with another dog that we know? Maybe he would protect Rosie from any mean dogs? My other worry is that, since she hasn't been spayed yet, is there any chance that she could get pregnant if another dog gets on her? Since she's only 4 1/2 months old, I'm guessing she probably couldn't get pregnant yet, but I really don't want to take the chance, even if it's one in a million.
 

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Something we do with Rosie is to let her off-leash in hockey rinks. This time of year, they don't have ice, and they're just a big weedy, enclosed area. Perfect for letting her blow off some steam. We have a huge dog park near us. It's got beautiful trails through the woods, as well as some open field space. We haven't taken her there yet. I'm also worried about her having a bad experience with another dog at a young age. I wondered if it would help to go with another dog that we know? Maybe he would protect Rosie from any mean dogs? My other worry is that, since she hasn't been spayed yet, is there any chance that she could get pregnant if another dog gets on her? Since she's only 4 1/2 months old, I'm guessing she probably couldn't get pregnant yet, but I really don't want to take the chance, even if it's one in a million.
I think there is sometimes more of a problem if people worry too much and then the dogs don't get properly socialised! Puppies NEED to meet lots of new dogs to ensure they know how to interact properly...keeping them away from all unknown dogs would cause more problems than it solves in my opinion. Most dogs around my area are walked off lead in the woodland/fields/beaches and all interact with many new dogs. I have found that 99.9% of dogs are wonderfully socialised and play without the slightest problem at all! As most dog walkers seem to have a similar approach you end up with very sociable and friendly dogs in the community! I sympathise if it isn't like that in your area...but if you have access to a lovely, open dog park with trails and fields I would definitely USE IT!!! When you approach another dog walker just ask ahead 'will your dog like to play?' and if they are friendly then let them meet and play!!

Your dog can only get pregnant when she is in season. At 4 1/2 months old she is not at that age yet. I would start to look out for it at about 8 months.
 

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Emmy&Tilly: I agree with what you're saying. It is very important for our pups to be exposed to lots of dogs at this age. We're fortunate enough to have a lovely wooded bike path behind our backyard, so we do lots of walks back there, and we've only met nice dogs thus far. Chances are, most of the dogs at the dog park will be nice, too. But, if she does encounter a mean dog, I don't want it to freak her out and make her scared of other dogs. Since I'm new to dog ownership, I don't know if a dog can develop a fear of other dogs based on just one negative experience.

And thanks for answering my question about whether or not she could become pregnant. I didn't think she could, at such a young age, but I'm since I'm still so new to this, I don't always trust my judgment. That's why I spend so much time surfing around this site! ;-)
 

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I'm not a big fan of dog parks either; there is one by me that is staffed by park employees--I like that one alot--the others, not worth the visit, IMHO.

I've seen fights at dog parks, where the owners are clueless--seen dogs poop--and it's not cleaned up--you tell the owners to clean it up (of course, they're talking to their regular social group--they don't have baggies, they look clueless--they give a spaced out look and wander aimlessly trying to find where their dog went). If the owners don't care about the park, and it's not clean, why bother. Maybe their dogs have ticks, fleas--ugh.

The one city park by me (well, it's not real close, but it's not a far drive, about 30, 40 minutes) reads the riot act to owners--I saw a chow and a bull terrier about to fight over a large swimming pool (my older golden wisely choose to get out of the way) and the park attendant got in the middle and called out for the owners (neither woman was making an attempt to control their dog). He said "put a leash on your dogs now, or get out." Good call. The park attendant also makes owners pick up poop.

But I think that park is the exception, not the norm.
 

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est.1989
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I think there is sometimes more of a problem if people worry too much and then the dogs don't get properly socialised! Puppies NEED to meet lots of new dogs to ensure they know how to interact properly...keeping them away from all unknown dogs would cause more problems than it solves in my opinion.
and all it takes is one bad apple to totally traumatize/injure a young puppy for life...I am not a fan of dog parks, there are many ways to properly socialize puppies safely! I don't let them off-lead either until they are trustworthy. For me, flexi leads are the cats meow!
 

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and all it takes is one bad apple to totally traumatize/injure a young puppy for life...I am not a fan of dog parks, there are many ways to properly socialize puppies safely! I don't let them off-lead either until they are trustworthy. For me, flexi leads are the cats meow!
Yes, a bad experience can have a lasting effect and that is why I would not like to use a dog park that is limited in space, with lots of dogs running amock together...however the description of the dog park by Minnesota Rosie sounded very nice indeed! With trails and fields and open areas I'm assuming it would be used as more of a proper walking area...therefore (I am assumining) dogs will be walking round with their owners and you are able to see who is coming and ask them if their dog is friendly and would like to play...surely THAT is a sensible way to approach dog socialisation??! Keeping a pup from meeting ALL unknown dogs is a very strange concept and just does not sound a great approach to me! (not aimed at Minnesota Rosie, the woods near your house sound lovely for walkies!)

Of course there are additional ways to allow puppies to interact...puppy/training sessions, meeting up with friends dogs...but realistically this isn't going to be a daily occurance (for most people) so interaction during twice daily walks would be a must for a pup in my opinion. Maybe I just live in a lovely area with sensible owners but that is the absolute norm where I walk...you end up with a lovely dog walking community! As I am in the UK I don't have any experience of 'dog parks' (and I am jolly pleased that they are not necessary here!) but from what I have heard from across the pond, they all sound different in the way they are run...some sound horrid, some look and sound quite suitable for dog walking.
 

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I too have seen a couple of incidents at my local dog park - particularly over balls or other toys. But, most dogs seem to be fantastic and Jesse absolutely loves it there so I keep going back. Last night there was about 6 puppies of different breeds (boxer, lab, lab x, stag hound, red heeler, belgian shepherd) all aged under 1 year which was fantastic. I can't believe how much it has brought Jesse our of her shell and helped her engage and enjoy playing with other dogs. I do worry though and if I see dogs or owners I am not too sure of we will move away (it's a large park). Plus it tires her out much better than I can on an on-lead walk and it's a great way to practice a recall over and over again!

Unfortunately one bad experience at a young age may have a lasting effect which would be horrible - but I think that as long as you live in an area with a majority of responsible dog owners who have well socialised dogs then it's worth a small risk for the happiness and joy that a puppy gets while playing with so many others. Just my opinion though based on the area I live.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
When we are on our walks I try to socialize her with many dogs as possible. I noticed that there are many who have dogs who have problems with other dogs, as they always go to the other side of the street when we approach or their dog just goes nuts when we approach. But most of the time we see one or two dogs and Bailey says hi and is very excited the whole time, jumping around like a bunny almost.
At puppy classes she was first scared of the other dogs and was hiding under the chair, now she's more curious and playful with them. We are going every Saturday for an hour to the puppy class and will start Obedience level 1 end of the month. We will also board her in a few weeks and she will have the opportunity to play all day in a big supervised area.
I will look for a 30 ft leash and go to one soccer field we have close to our house, I just have to go one day I am not with my son. It's anyway sometimes hard being on walks with a toddler in the stroller and a puppy who goes wild from time to time (jumping up and trying to bite my shirt).
 

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off leash options

Hi, our Daisy is nearly 4 months, and we use a very long lead at the local field. She has had a couple of large dogs make a bee line for her, and made her yelp and they totally ignored thier owners, I ended up having to pick her up Grrrr. What I do now is, call out pollitely to all dog owners who's dogs are off the lead and ask 'Is your dog friendly?'.

She hasn't been put off by these naughty 'owners', and she does play excitedly with the friendly one's, but I'm not confident enought to let her off her lead yet, I know she would chase the birds/squirrels, and if she saw another dog in the distance I think she definately go to investigate. She's too small I think at the moment to be pestered by larger unruly dogs, and I don't want her to experience anything too bad.

At the weekend, we may take her to an enourmous country park - dog friendly, 15mins drive away, and let her loose in one of the 'huge' dog safe fields with lots of delicious puppy treats for calling her to us. We can't wait to eventually let her use up all that energy, but the very long lead definately helps at the moment, and of course I can reel her back if I see any 'suspicious' looking dogs running to her - they're not all friendly unfortunately and I wish the owners would keep them on a lead!
 

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I have found whistle training,an excellent tool,in recall!.
As a whistle doesn't show emotions,you never sound mad ,thus the dogs comes back and I treat!.
My dogs are of the leash from day one so I've never really had a recall problem!.
I,also,treat them,a lot when I do a recall exercise!.
It's,actually,the only time,I use a treat!.
 

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I have found whistle training,an excellent tool,in recall!.
As a whistle doesn't show emotions,you never sound mad ,thus the dogs comes back and I treat!.
My dogs are of the leash from day one so I've never really had a recall problem!.
I,also,treat them,a lot when I do a recall exercise!.
It's,actually,the only time,I use a treat!.
oh yes, good point about the whistle...it is such a clear, consistant sound that my dogs respond to really well...I also agree with letting a pup off from day one (in a safe, open area of course). I would never dream of letting an adolescent dog off the lead for the first ever time! Nooo, do it when they are tiny, needy and freedom is never a big deal!
 

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Silly question, if you use a dog whistle in a public area, do other dogs come running? How does your dog know the sound is for him and other dogs know it isn't?

See, I said it was a silly question, but I really want to know.
 
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