Friday, July 5, 2013

Off-Leash Dog Blues

So I had originally planned to post about all our holiday adventures yesterday -- how awesome the pooches did hanging outside with us as some of our neighbors set off illegal fireworks (awesome for us though, since we didn't have to leave the yard!).

We did end up going on a nice, long family walk somewhere special.  We went to Frontier Park - a beautiful park right off the Bayfront.  It's higher traffic - more dogs, people, and kids - so we thought it would be a great "stretch" location for Edi.

Oh, it was...and more than we bargained for.  We ran into several off-leash dogs.  Granted, we had no issues and the dogs were completely responsive to their owners - but still.  What if Edi had made his famous gremlin noises? What if the dog would have approached Ed? What if, what if, what if???  All these "what ifs" make a risk that we have to take into consideration.

But this seems unfair to have a gorgeous park -- not a dog park -- that we can't take a leisurely walk through with our pooches.  And while this would be a perfect spot for our PEDs walks with easy access and plenty of parking, there is too much risk for a big group of pooches.

Of course, we're extra sensitive to these issues because we have a reactive dog.  Maybe if both our pooches were more like Tess, it wouldn't be an issue for us.  The goods news, is we had a safe walk and it seemed like Edi's vest really worked at getting us some additional space.

Have off-leash dogs taken over your parks?  Do you have any "safe" parks in your area?


  1. I rarely take Ray to a park unless it's for an event or something, but yesterday we ran, as a family, to the store for more dog food and guess who was the only dog there not barking at all the other dogs! :-)

  2. I am always on high alert when we take the dogs for a walk because there is almost always someone with an off leash dog!

  3. I'm sort of on the opposite end of the spectrum from you but I completely agree with you! I purposefully seek out places where I can legally let my dogs run off leash because it's a lot more fun for us. Though sometimes people snap at me when the dogs are minding their own business for no other reason than they have an irrational fear or narrow-minded judgement and I often think to myself, why don't you go to one of the on-leash areas and leave us alone! I agree all dogs deserve a safe place to do their thing whatever that may be :)

    Of course it is not okay for people to break park rules, but a lot of off leash dogs feel less defensive than dogs on leash and they will be more inclined to leave alone a dog that is reacting towards them. I was once on an off leash hiking trail and someone was holding a huge german shepherd on the side of the trail on a leash. The dog was violently lunging at every dog that walked by and screaming bloody murder at them. I watched about 10 off leash dogs mosey by only a few feet from him without caring, including mine. The next thing I knew, the dog was barreling towards us down the trail and he had not a care in the world about any other dogs. I know not all dogs are the same but it was fascinating to watch.

    And BTW the dogs look so cute in their holiday outfits!

    1. That's a good side to hear. Like we said in the post, we sometimes forget what it is like to have a dog that isn't reactive and how different things are. We also find that we trust other people's judgement a lot less with Edison than if we just had Tess! It's interesting to see our own perspective change depending on which dog we're walking!

      Leash reactivity really is interesting, especially in an otherwise mellow dog!

    2. I think leash reactivity is usually just excitement and/or insecurity rather than aggression. I take care of my mom's dog sometimes and she is both reactive and aggressive so I have to really be aware of making sure she has space. It is so different than what I am used to!