08 January 2011

Unleashed Thoughts

When I looked outside this morning and saw the snow falling the first thought to cross my mind was a question I get asked quite frequently: How do you train your dogs to behave so well off leash?

It is during poor weather that I would do all my off-leash training, so watching the snow fall makes me want to grab the dogs and head for a park. There are a few parks in the county that I live and I would run the trails of each while training for ultras. I realized that as the weather got worse, I would see far less people and the ones that came did not stay nearly as long. It was these moments I started letting Shaman run free. It was those first experiences of running with him unrestrained, the entire park to ourselves, that I got hooked. From the raw excitement exuding out of the dog to the transcendental and primal feeling I felt, trail running was forever changed for me. It was also these running experiences that solidified the bond and the trust I have with my dogs.

Our runs have taken us to some beautiful places.

Being off-leash requires trust.

I realize not everyone has the ability or is ready to run with a dog under only voice control. I am going to put together a basic guide to help people achieve this.