So I am needing some safe off leash ideas from people. I wish I lived in the mountains and could just walk trails off leash with my puppy but being in Detroit Michigan and very downtown it is not possible
Feel free to skip the long explanation the above is my only question pretty much.
I had found this AMAZING off leash dog park. I am talking acres and acres of fields and forest where I walked My 8 month puppy for about 2 hours on the weekend days. He was super friendly with people and dogs, played well. Everyone watches their dog here closely and there is so much space if the dogs meet and body language looks iffy we both called dogs away straight away and moved on.
Yes, I know, and I don't want to hear it in this thread, I have read all the NO DOG PARKS!!! threads. But he got attacked 3 times today and I am terrified I have ruined him. It was a classic moron who should not have been there. She had 2 large Australian shepherds. I was distracted for 1 SECOND, didn't get to see them greet so missed the opportunity to intervene straight away. My puppy panicked and ran yelping when they ganged up on him. I got him after about 30 seconds as he finally ran close enough to me. He was unhurt they really just chased him a bit but were snapping. The other owner was useless just stood there calling her dogs. The dogs came back for round two I aggressively stomped forward and the dogs panicked and retreated. I got lucky.
I let him play with some safe retrievers he had met earlier and we called it a day.
Like a total moron I took him back the next day (desperate really he is 8 months, too much energy and I am in tears most days trying to get his needs met so I can breathe at home). Someones stupid whatever went for him. I had been there about 10min already Haku was playing nicely with me and this fluffy other dog. we were throwing balls for them. He had been fine. After that it was all downhill. I should have gone home straight away. Haku was obviously unsure now. He was not being overly submissive but we came across the other dog again (I was walking the trails not just standing around) Haku avoided him beautifully walked away and wide around. Dog turned to go for him I got so angry I grabbed the other dog and pushed/ turned him the other way. (so stupid! I could have been bitten so badly! I was just so freaking angry). I headed back to the exit, it was quite far, and he got attacked twice more. I feel he was scared the other dogs were sensing this and just going for him. I have NEVER seen this happen here. I go often and have only met very well balanced dogs. Haku was giving off that weak vibe. I got the typical "he has never done this before!" from the owners. I don't care. I was too shaken up. probably scaring my puppy. I eventually had him between my legs and I was pushing the other dogs away. I want him to know he will be safe by me not going to get mauled
We walked some trails away from the dog park on his long lead instead then headed home.
I am devastated. That off leash park was the only thing I was actually enjoying with my puppy right now. He is a rescue and does not have a very confident personality. Anyway, rant over. I don't want to take him back to the dog park where he can get more scared so I am looking for how people cope with allowing off leash time for their dogs without fenced dog parks. I feel so trapped with this 8 month bored energetic monster lol and no where to just let him be a dog. I don't even want him to play with the other dogs, I was there so we could "hike" together. I do have access to miles of trails at the same park, we would meet very few people and dogs must be on leash but even on the 20ft long line he gets the zoomies and leash pulls it is very frustrating for us both.
I am open to ideas. I want to get us both through this and help build my dog's confidence back up. He is suddenly very unsure about the whole world (people on porches, people gardening, unfamiliar objects, umbrellas etc) I am sure I totally failed him here with this experience and feel bad
For the inevitable questions:
- He starts his obedience class next week. I am excited. It is a very positive class clicker training. I feel lots of positivity with him right now is the way to go.
- I have a small fenced back yard. Maybe 15 x 30 ft. We play fetch/frisbee but there is only so much we can do it will never be like hiking with him off leash.
- I CAN find lots of walking trails at the parks here. However, leash pulling and tantrums are a work in progress he gets very frustrated not being able to run. And it is so sad because when we hike off lead he always stays with me and if I call he comes no problem. He panics if I get out of site. I am worried even if I teach him to walk nicely on leash it will never be the same as off leash stuff
- I am trying my best to socialize him. By this I mean we walk around the neighborhood. I try find new places to take him but it's just the two of us walking so no playing with other dogs. We go to petsmart. He has fun but is excited.
Okay I have rambled enough. How do you guys let your dogs be dogs when everywhere requires them to be on a 6 foot leash??