For city pet dogs, free spaces provide a breath of fresh air. It opens up a lot of doors and the possibilities are, indeed, endless. Be it free runs, socialising, playing or just uplifting your dog’s mood, open spaces provide the perfect ground and here’s how…
Free runs are not only thoroughly enjoyed by the canine but it also gives them the opportunity to do what they’re built for, what they were born to do – run. Along with the most natural form of exercise, the sniffing and smelling of countless odours provide unparalleled mental stimulation. In addition, it enhances your dog’s decision-making capabilities by allowing her to choose her speed, pace, negotiate her hurdles and to meet who she wants to meet.
Common open spaces with several other dogs and humans, say tekdis or jogging trails, are great for socialisation (if your dog is the social kind). They allow you and your pup to meet other pups and persons and break the routine along with providing more freedom as opposed to the confinement of home and more control over their lives as opposed to walking on a leash.
But before you go to any such place, ensure your dog has a hundred percent recall and excellent obedience with regards to the “drop”, “no” and other essential and life-saving commands. Having a good recall and obedience is not only an important training tool in making social gatherings easier but also helps build the human-canine bond. It gives you the confidence that your dog is, without a doubt, glued on to you and gives your dog the confidence that you trust him enough to let him go and run free again.
Free spaces in general, also provide a great opportunity to observe and learn about a dog’s body language. Running around, wagging and upright tails, the gait and flapping years are all signs of a happy dog but the fur on its ends, upright ears, tucked-in tail, growling and/or rough play are what call for your vigilance.
For dogs that are of the introvert type, or those that don’t do well with other animals, enclosed yet clear spaces like a fenced lawn or ground work wonders. With no other animals (dogs or other species), they can run free and do what they wish up to their heart’s content. Be it digging, exploring or sticking to the classic “run, sniff, pee, repeat”.
Open spaces can also be used to play games such as dog tag, fetch or catch. One that we, at PetSitters, commonly do is the “running between humans”. Two people play catch with a ball or any toy with the dog running in between them and, once in a while, the dog catches the toy.
All in all, the ability to unleash your dog’s potential comes down to the familiarity of the place, path and beings he/she is interacting with. The more familiar the setting, the lesser there is to worry about. Playing with a group of friends or known souls, be it human or canine, is far more secure than letting your dog explore new ones on his own. What also makes a huge difference mainly with regards to the pet parent being at peace is whether the space is compounded. If the dog’s still under training and doesn’t have a strong recall, this is the safest option.
As we said in the beginning, the possibilities with open spaces are really endless. With the option to alter settings according to your dog’s needs, there is very little that you and the dog can’t do. Have no second thoughts, find a suitable place and let your dog run free, and if you don’t find one, there’s always PetSitters ;).
Footnote: Recently, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) banned pet dogs from tekdis voting to some irresponsible behaviour on part of the pet parents. The prime contributor was dogs being left off-leash turn causing injury to people walking by. To prevent such cases we insist that the dog have perfect obedience and be well accustomed to social behaviour when visiting public spaces. It helps make the place safe and enjoyable for all.