Coming originally from Europe, I have always been a big advocate for off leash dogs. I imagine that gaining the privilege of being off leash is like getting your first driver’s license…you've earned that freedom. Since I have always trained my own dogs to be under voice control from early on, it has never been a problem... until last Friday!
THE STORY: My friend and I went for a trail run, and the dogs were sort of running back and forth in between us. At one point two of them went off on some wildlife track. We called and called for them, but nothing happened so we split up, backtracked our loop, and kept calling. After getting all the way to the car and seeing no sign of the dogs, I decided to go back to the original spot where they went missing.
THE ENDING: Sure enough, Oscar showed up tired, wet and dirty... and dragging a blackberry bush! Ten minutes later, Zelig came also. So, it is a happy ending!
WHAT I LEARNED: Having averted disaster, I definitely reflected on two important things that I would like to share.
- Am I going to let my dogs off leash again? Yes, but I will refresh their recall training first! You don't want your 'Come Here!' command to ever get rusty.
- If my dogs get lost again, will I go look for them? Yes, but I will call and wait at the spot where they ran off, because they will most likely come back there.
POSTSCRIPT: My friend asked me “What would you do if your dogs hadn't come back?" I said “Maybe I will finally get myself a boyfriend!"
(Of course I was just kidding!)