Monday, August 05, 2013

Off Leash

So relating to my post on nature deficit disorder, I’ve decided to elaborate on how I find places for my dogs to cut loose, particularly when I have three highly prey driven dogs, one of whom is dog aggressive. Most are a short drive away of my Maillardville home, although some places mentioned are from dog-friendly road trips. Descriptions are intentionally vague, as these are secret spots, some are frequented by other people with not-so-friendly dogs, and in most cases, off leash is breaking the rules. The goal is to give the dogs a bit of freedom to make their own decisions, while getting hard physical exercise, for both mental and physical health benefits. Just don't bother anyone and pick up after your dog.

Hydro property

BC Hydro allows multi-use trails on some of its property. I worry a bit about all my exposure to high voltage power lines, but it’s worth it for the isolation so close to the city. Here, Shorty, owned by Sarah of Bad Dogs Gone Good, enjoys a bit of freedom.

Former Mental Institution

Locals will recognize this place. Great during the week, especially if there are no films crews, although there’s usually enough space to avoid them.  Granger likes a bit of Chuck-it among the trees of the beautiful grounds. Walks should be on leash, as there is still road traffic and patients/workers here, and I have seen dog training classes taking place. Be sure to give the security guards a friendly wave when they drive by. Can you spot Fletcher's Where's Waldo imitation in this photo?

City Industrial Land

Along the lines of Hydro property, most industrial areas, including access roads, are quiet on the weekend and early weekday mornings (i.e. outside of union working hours). As always, don't disturb anyone and pick up after your dogs. There is one around the corner from my house, and I've met some other dog people who utilize the spot for fetch or an off leash romp.

Crown Land

I like to think of it as exercising the dogs in the Queen’s backyard. Don’t disturb the wildlife or the range cattle. Here, Lila and Tiki enjoy rolling in cow pies outside of 100 Mile House, BC.

Empty Beaches

The Oregon coast is my favourite place to look for deserted beaches (especially in winter), but I’ve also had great success along the Pacific Ocean side of the Olympic Penninsula in Washington. This is Eric and the boy dogs just south of Forks, WA.

Start off slow, know your dog's limits, and follow the general guidelines of not disturbing anyone and respecting the environment. It can take years to be able to do this type of activity safely, but the rewards are worth it.