On a recent walk with my two mini Bernedoodles, I got into a pretty big argument with a woman and her self-proclaimed “unfriendly dog.”
SOS friends – I need your opinion here.
I have two puppies: Miko (a little over a year old) and Larry (a little over 7 months). Both are super cute dogs and they are very well trained. Often, like yesterday, we go to a hidden dog enclosure in Portsmouth. They usually precede me, explore the many acres of land, and come back when they hear a whistle or the words “touch.”
While we were in the woods of an area marked “off-leash,” Miko and Larry saw another off-leash dog, probably 30 feet away.
As dogs do, they quickly ran over to get a smell and a “hello” to the other dog. I did the typical “mine are friendly when yours are,” which I thought was polite.
Finally, we found ourselves in a free-running area for dogs. Aren’t all dogs friendly here? Guess not.
As my dogs and I approached, the other woman put her very large dog on a leash, grabbed the dog’s collar and started yelling, “Mine isn’t friendly.” And then louder: “NOT FRIENDLY.”
Kick your legs to make room, “Take away your #%#$^*& dogs.” This all happened in about 5 seconds.
I yelled “touch” and Miko, the older one, immediately came to my side.
My 9 month old dog Larry hung around the “not friendly dog” and his owner for another 5-10 seconds. I yelled “touch” twice; However, I’m pretty sure Larry couldn’t hear me because of the rude expletives the woman was shouting.
I whistled over the screams and he came back to me.
The ordeal lasted 10 seconds.
I started doing the “hey, sorry, have a nice day” but the owner seemed like trying to teach me a lesson. She yelled at me like I gave the land to Miko and Larry or like they tormented their dog first.
“You can’t bring your dogs here unless they’re 100% recall trained,” she said. “My dog could have killed your dogs” was an actual sentence out of her mouth.
First of all they remembered and they did well for their age, they got yelled at/kicked and another dog was held up in front of them like a piece of steak!
Second, anyone who has trained a puppy knows that the puppy can be perfect when it comes, sits, stays in your room; However, when they go into the living room, it’s a little harder (more distractions). If they go into the yard, even harder (MORE distractions).
The same goes for recall training. Eventually, you’ll have to head into the woods for a longer recall training session so they can master it.
I repeat – Miko came back immediately. One word – “touch”. The younger one took 10 seconds. I was really proud that he ignored the dog and came to me within 10 seconds!
And again, this was in an off-leash area.
The woman was unhappy with my answer and felt the need to remind me that her dog could have killed mine (the other dog probably could have done it given its size). So I decided on a side.
“If your dog isn’t friendly, he or she shouldn’t be in an off-leash area,” I said. “If your dog attacked mine, it would be you and your dog. Not with me and mine.”
We walked back and forth until I waved the white flag and we went our separate ways.
I went back frustrated. was i right Should her dog even have been there? Am I wrong? Should Miko and Larry have answered in less than 10 seconds? If so, where should I train again for that scenario… we were there for that very reason: long-distance defense training in a free-running area outside.
i need opinions Tell me I’m wrong Tell me I’m right Just help me understand this situation.
Disclosure: I did some research after the incident. If I was wrong and my dogs were too young or something, I would want to find the woman and apologize. What I found were different answers.
Some dog parks in NH require dogs to be at least four months old. In some parks the age is six months old. Some off-leash dog parks require the dog to be spayed or neutered. Some don’t mention this requirement at all, although it’s usually good practice.
Some off-leash dog parks, this one we’ve been to, actually advise that dogs must be under voice control and supervision at all times. An ambiguous statement, isn’t it? I would say my dogs were under my voice control as they followed me within 10 seconds while being distracted by another dog. She would probably claim the opposite.
If you’re curious about the rules and regulations of a specific off-leash dog park in NH, you can check them out here!
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