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 Off-Leash No Fence Dog Park???

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PostSubject: Off-Leash No Fence Dog Park???   Wed Nov 20, 2013 6:22 pm

Hello!

I live very close to a dog park, but the problem is... there's no fence. I've read all the articles and have been warned to never let a husky off leash, but the owners there have been convincing me that my husky (9 months old) will be too interested in playing with the other dogs to run away. I'm still nervous because while he knows 'come', he still gets distracted easily and his recall isn't perfect. I really want to let him play here though because he's friends with the dogs, but they don't want to play with him because he's on the leash. Also, it would be the ultimate exercise! What do you think? Is it safe to let him off the leash only in this park while he's playing with other dogs??
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PostSubject: Re: Off-Leash No Fence Dog Park???   Wed Nov 20, 2013 6:47 pm

Hi there! I don't know where you're from, but we have an unfenced off leash dog park here that I take my dogs to all the time! They LOVE it. It has two huge fields and trails that run through the woods along this huge creek- they have a blast! I got my husky at 8 months and let him off the leash right from the get go. I also have an alaskan malamute that I let off leash as well. They are very good about staying with me when we're there. I also take them off leash hiking and have never had a problem. I play hide and seek with them, so if they go to where I think they're too far... I hide. And in good places too! Up in trees, behind rocks, off trails. They come FLYING back as soon as they see me missing- and of course I haven't lost sight of them the whole time! haha. Anyways, it really comes down to YOU and your dog. If you're not comfortable letting him off leash- then don't. You'll just be nervous that he's going to take off and worried about the what if's- and he'll be less likely to respond thinking "what is wrong with you!?" If this is the case, put him on a 100 ft long line- he can still be "off leash" but you have 110 ft to grab if he decides to take off. The best of both worlds Smile Really, it comes down to doing what YOU'RE comfortable with. Don't worry about the pressure from other people- think of it this way, if something were to happen- they don't have to deal with vet bills, or a lost dog Sad It's your choice! Don't let them bully you one way or another! Smile Good luck, and remember- have fun!!
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moto1087
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PostSubject: Re: Off-Leash No Fence Dog Park???   Wed Nov 20, 2013 6:58 pm

i ordered a 100ft leash for like 15 bucks and i use that for "off leash"
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PostSubject: Re: Off-Leash No Fence Dog Park???   Wed Nov 20, 2013 7:06 pm

Agree with Jesse. My eskimo can be off leash but huskies, especially mine, get 'sled head', recall isn't their strong suit. People have told me it can be trained but I have given my eskie and huskies the same exact recall sessions and my huskies will still choose to ignore me given the chance. Luckily I have been as careful as I can about them not getting loose since Link is an escape artist when it comes to collars and leads, but personally I wouldn't chance it even if there are other dogs around. My dogs would probably get distracted by something and they could be gone. I would stick to your gut, and especially not let off a young puppy with already unreliable recall. It's not the others owners dog that can run away and get lost or hurt, its yours, so don't feel peer pressured by them either. ^-^
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PostSubject: Re: Off-Leash No Fence Dog Park???   Thu Nov 21, 2013 2:18 am

One of ours has limited fences and the other has 4ft fence. I use 30ft leash. Feels a little silly since everyone else is offleash, but loki still has fun. He likes other dogs but since maybe he lives with 2 dogs I have seen him get bored quickly and then he likes to explore. The leash makes me feel safe and lets me work even more on recall.
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PostSubject: Re: Off-Leash No Fence Dog Park???   Thu Nov 21, 2013 12:10 pm

Well the dog park that is near me is one huge open lawn. No hills, no trees, just space. Dog owners often take their pets there and I would be the only one with a leash on. I'm not worried about the peer pressure, but I stopped taking my husky there because I think he gets jealous that all the other dogs get to run and play (sometimes they even tease him :\ ).

I considered getting a long leash, but since there are so many other dogs and people running around, I'm afraid it might hurt them if it gets tangled. A retractable leash is also out of the question because I know he could break that in a second heh. I'm not sure if he'll run OUT of the park... but he might have so much fun, he won't come to me to go back home?
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PostSubject: Re: Off-Leash No Fence Dog Park???   Thu Nov 21, 2013 3:08 pm

It ultimately falls on you. You will need to take into account the breed, your training and reward/consequences and how well you know your dog.

Huskies are known to run that's the breed. Is your training strong enough/will he listen to you (recall,off-leash,line of sight,etc)? Do the rewards of having him off leash outweigh the consequences/risks in your opinion? It's different for everyone.
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PostSubject: Re: Off-Leash No Fence Dog Park???   Thu Nov 21, 2013 4:14 pm

I agree with the others. You know your dog best, so trust your gut. If you're worried, there's probably a reason.

I've been working really hard with recall with my pup, and yesterday, he actually came away from another dog while in the dog park. He really wanted to go see him too, but when I called a second time he came. His recall is getting very good, but I still wouldn't trust him off leash unless we were far from any roads, and in a low distraction environment, mostly because if he decided not to come back it wouldn't result in him getting hurt. I know him well enough to know he wouldn't bolt and leave me out of sight, but I don't trust that he wouldn't get himself hurt either.

With Dizzy, I feel like he actually has potential to be trusted off-leash, but my first husky, that was impossible. I would never have trusted her to come back if I needed her to. She would stay with me, and sometimes come when called, but she never had a bombproof recall, which I think is necessary if you want to allow them off-leash.

Stick to your training and it may work out eventually. At any rate, follow your gut. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Off-Leash No Fence Dog Park???   Thu Nov 21, 2013 4:36 pm

I have only ever trusted Link off-leash in an open area out in the woods while camping or at a friend's cabin, away from roads and other dangerous stuff.

I noticed with Link that he needs a clearly distinguished headquarters, usually where we all hang out with food and beer, for him to stay nearby. This helps him know that he is expected to stay close while having freedom to run around.

His recall in these situations is excellent, especially if I use my emergency recall howl that I do with him. His recall in dog parks is okay, but not nearly as good or trustworthy when we are in the woods with a headquarters for him to attach to.

Just my input.
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PostSubject: Re: Off-Leash No Fence Dog Park???   Thu Nov 21, 2013 5:47 pm

How do you know when you have a solid recall?

Sad The rewards of having him off leash here are so high. Sometimes there are up to 20 dogs playing with each other and I know he would have a lot of fun. I go to this park often, but only walk him on leash around the perimeter and sometimes he'll cry and look at the dogs playing. I used to take him to the middle where the dogs are, but the other owners started to pressure me, saying "when will you trust him?" etc. They weren't being mean, they just don't understand how it is to have a husky.
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PostSubject: Re: Off-Leash No Fence Dog Park???   Thu Nov 21, 2013 6:06 pm

I know most people don't recommend it, but I use a flexi leash with Dizzy. Its 26' long and is rated for 110 lb dog. If he hit the end running full blast though, I'm not confident it would hold... But this allows him some freedom and the feeling of being off-leash, while allowing for the security of having him on a leash. It has also allowed me to work on and test his recall. If he's running full bore after a squirrel and I call him mid chase, he will come now.

I guess I would consider his recall solid enough to run free when I have called him out of many high distraction situations and he comes without hesitation. This is called proofing the recall, gradually increasing distractions while on a long line until he will come away from just about anything I can think of and throw at him. His biggest thing is other dogs, so the dog park recall last night was a huge win. So I'm just going to keep working and drilling and hope for the best.
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PostSubject: Re: Off-Leash No Fence Dog Park???   Thu Nov 21, 2013 6:08 pm

Well the thing with them running is all about the value of what they want. They don't just run because they can, for example running itself is probably not more valuable to them than say a steak.

So the question is can you trust that you can make yourself or stuff you have have for him more valuable than that squirrel across the road or the bird down the street or the cat in the tree or the deer scent in the woods??
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PostSubject: Re: Off-Leash No Fence Dog Park???   Thu Nov 21, 2013 6:32 pm

You have a solid recall when your dog returns to you and it's not a game of tag, whether you are alone or in an environment with other people, dogs and distractions around.

Personally I wanted my husky to be off leash trained (Not in cities/near roads). So I started from the ground up and was extremely persistent. Spent many days working on basics, trying to learn his tells, what he would respond to and what he wouldn't, finding new tricks and games to help teach him. I spent many days waiting out temper tantrums, disappointed in my failures, doubting my self, ripping my hair out, standing in the freezing cold but I did not give in I made new plans and ran at the wall again. All that time invested made my small victories all that much sweeter.

Over time our trust was built up and currently still is. He has to trust me and my decisions/commands and in turn I had to trust he wouldn't run away from me. It's almost been 2 years now and I have had great success i can say i have an off leash husky. The work I had to do so was ridiculous (huskies are F ing stubborn) but I was willing to take the risks and pay the prices. It's like doing the trust fall, if you don't trust the person don't do it, if you do go for it but understand there is a chance of falling flat on the floor.
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PostSubject: Re: Off-Leash No Fence Dog Park???   Mon Dec 30, 2013 2:37 pm

We have a no fence dog park by us that our 2 huskies LOVE. We started off in a fenced in dog park and they did really well so we switched to the no fence one closer to home.

I know there is a lot of controversy but we use shock collars on our dogs when off leash and in open spaces for safety. The one we bought is a sportdog and it has a beep and shock function that ranges 1-8. What we did is if our dogs get too far away for comfort we first call them back, then beep, and then shock at 1 and then if they continue to ignore us we increase it. As you know huskies are super quick learners it only took a few shocks for them to figure it all out. We RARELY shock them.

They are so good on there collars at the park now I let them run all over the place and even out of sight and hearing far into the woods. When I want them to come back I just call them or beep them "hey come back now" and they come running with big smiles.

Also, we can also take them to our cabin and to friend's houses that don't have fences and they can play off leash with their other dog friends! Just a few beeps to let them know the boundaries of the new yard and they do awesome.

As this may not work for everyone, it works for us and keeps them happy that they can run off leash  and gives us peace of mind for safety.
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PostSubject: Re: Off-Leash No Fence Dog Park???   Mon Dec 30, 2013 3:52 pm

It really depends on the park. If there are not a lot of cars around and it is big enough for the dogs to play without getting out I would say go for it. When I let my guy off leash in a non fenced park (Which is like 1hr a day) I just make sure that there are other dogs to play with, and when I see that he is starting to get bored we just leave. As long as he has playmates he doesn't go away, and it is really easy to see when the dog is losing interest. I think I have never seen a dog make a sudden run out of the park, including the other three huskies. Anyway, you know your dog better than anyone, just do what you think is right  Wink  .
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PostSubject: Re: Off-Leash No Fence Dog Park???   Sun Jan 12, 2014 3:42 am

My huskies recall isn't great but I always let him off leash if there is a dog nearby that is trained very well off leash. But that's just my husky as his biggest distraction is another dog so he would stick to it no matter what happens.
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PostSubject: Re: Off-Leash No Fence Dog Park???   Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:49 am

I think I completely understand where you are coming from. We live in a city that is covered in dog parks but a lot of them are just open fields. When Link was very little we let him off leash quite a bit, especially around our friends older dog, in the hopes that he would learn. After a few months he took off a couple of times and that was when we knew we needed to really work on this. I understand wanting to let your dog off to play but, personally, I wouldn't risk it. It has to potential to establish bad off-leash behaviour because there is nothing in place to enforce your command. We have been working with Link diligently for the last few months with a 100ft rope and some high value treats; unfortunately in an area without other dogs. Since there is the risk of him getting sled head we use cooked chicken as his reward for returning. If you want to establish good recall we found teaching Link fetch very helpful since it seemed to clue him into the fact that we actually wanted him to come back. This is something that we are still working on. I hope that this helps a bit!
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