Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Cobalt: Off Leash

We've been getting mixed advice on leash-free parks. One trainer said, up front, "keep out" -- he'd seen too many dogs attacked and injured by, or infected with parasites from, dogs not properly trained or cared for by their owners that they met in leash-free areas.

About a month ago, my mother took Mattie to her local leash-free, which had a "small dog" and a "big dog" area. Some idiot was running his greyhounds in the small dog area (because they were "too gentle" for the big dog section), and the greyhounds took Mattie for a rabbit and went for her. My mother, who's in her late 60s, couldn't catch up with them, and the greyhound owner wouldn't do anything.

My mother avoids off-leashes now if there are any other dogs around. Her previous dog, Bogie, was completely neurotic about all other dogs after being attacked in an off-leash, as well.

But yesterday I had Cobalt down at Moss Park, where three other people had their dogs off-leash, and she loved it. I kept her on her springy-leash thing, so she couldn't run free, but she had a grand time bouncing at the other dogs, who either ignored her or snuffled friendly-like. It's certainly a great way for her to burn off energy!

I suppose the best bet would be an off-leash area where you knew everyone and their dogs, but that's not really doable in downtown Toronto.


L-girl said...

I think it's very important for dogs to socialize with other dogs - and they love it. In my experience, the risks are small and the benefits are many.

James said...

What we've been doing for now is taking her to a local (quiet) off-leash but keeping her on the extenda-leash. Don't want her running into traffic!

L-girl said...

That seems like a good compromise while she's so young. The retractable leash is probably good for training come-when-called, too. I've never used one, so I don't really know, but it would seem so.

James said...

It's working well for us. We were just doing that this afternoon in Moss Park. She's getting pretty good -- Lori was at the shortstop position and Cobalt heard her and ran for her from first base (with me trailing at full retractable extension length behind her).

Unfortunately it didn't count because she didn't touch second base.