Saturday, June 13, 2015

Beach Hound Off the Leash

Off The Leash on Amazon
A hound dog is quite capable of picking up a scent and following it wherever it may lead, forsaking all commands to "come" from its owner when called. My dog Valentino is no exception to this off-the-leash rule of paws.

While I do not recommend allowing a hound dog to roam around off leash, I work diligently with my dog to give him as much freedom as possible. Fenced areas with no chance for escape from my direct supervision are best, of course, but there are no such places nearby for me and my dog.

Valentino and I have progressed together in our dog training to the point that I know when he is giving me his full focus and in the mood to follow my commands. Even so, I know deep down in my dog-loving heart that a stray cat can easily distract this redtick coonhound.

However, and probably against my better judgment, I do allow my American English Coonhound to run free on occasion. And even though I say "off-leash" he is still wearing harness and leash and hopefully I have time to grab it if needed!

On one of our neighborhood walks each day, I will drop the leash, working diligently to train him to stay in stride right beside me and to sit and stay while I walk away, then to come when I call him. Valentino amazes me with his eagerness to please and gain his reward for doing so — special treats!

Recently we took an evening walk on our favorite stretch of deserted beach here in the Florida Panhandle. After walking the shoreline for a while making sure he was in focus, I let go of his leash, had him sit and stay while I walked about fifty feet away, then called him to come. My dog Valentino ran free as the salty sea breeze to come to me!

My dog Valentino begs for his treat.

But of course, he finished up his freedom run by circling me in his "Where's my treat?" dance of enthusiasm for a job well done.

Next, I gave the "Let's run!" command and he ran by my side to the next pier stretching out over the Gulf of Mexico. We then walked the seashore, Valentino untethered by my hand gripping his leash, for nearly an hour.

My dog Valentino rests while watching the waves roll in.

As long as he stayed within a few feet of me and stopped on command, I gave Valentino leeway to investigate the coastline on his own. I couldn't help but wonder if the sea looked different to a free dog than to one held in check by human hands holding its leash in a tight grip.

I took only a few pictures of my dog on this, his first beach walk in freedom for dogs, as my focus was on his safety and enjoyment. Of these images, this one (below) is most special of all, for I had allowed him to go a few feet further than usual and he kept turning to look at me as if waiting for the "Stop!" command.

Me? I was enjoying the pleasure of my hound dog's treasure seeking beach walk — off the leash!

My dog Valentino searches for hidden treasure in the fresh seaweed.

I can not really know whether it was he or I who enjoyed his freedom more. Honestly, I think it was me!

Disclosure: Ruth Cox is an Associate of Amazon and may earn income based on purchases made through links in this article.

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