Wordless Wednesday – Honey Walks Naked

Honey, the Golden Retriever, comes running back on her walk.

Did you call me? Whatcha got? A stick? A cookie?

We expect so much from our dogs.

  • Don’t forage for food
  • Greet people calmly
  • Remain quiet when the UPS guy arrives at the door

We’re lucky they don’t crack up under the strain.

That’s why I try to give Honey time to walk off-leash every day. Well, not quite off leash. I let her drag it so I can catch hold of her quickly in an emergency.

Here we are walking beside the creek in our neighborhood. The cries in the middle? A cheeky squirrel caught Honey’s eye.

It took a lot of work to teach Honey to look to me when we see a squirrel. Glad to know it has paid off.

Do you have a favorite place to walk your dog off-leash? Or is your best friend a wanderer that needs a fence for safety?

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  1. I’m lucky in that Gizmo is great off-leash…When we hike trails I let him free because he always stops within a few hundred feet to look back and make sure I’m still there…he knows to “stay with the pack” Near home there’s a mini wetland across the street from our house and we go over there at least once a day so he can run run run and burn off some of that terrier energy…it really helps. And he has earned my trust and this freedom by always returning when I call to him. Early training has absolutely paid off for both of us.

    • You and Gizmo must have really worked hard from the beginning. Some terriers seem to struggle with all the scents and sounds competing for their attention.

      You’re really lucky to have a safe but stimulating place to roam nearby. I bet Gizmo loves it!

      • I’ve always hiked with my big dogs, so when I got Gizmo I was determined to treat him like a big dog…teach him rules and reward him when he follows them…he caught on quickly and it’s made for more fun for both of us… I always feel sad for dogs that are never allowed off-leash at all. The owners tell me “well Fido will never come back”…or “Fido will run away”…and I have to bite my tongue to keep from saying “well why don’t’ you just teach Fido the rules? it’s your fault Fido doesn’t know them” but then I figure it’s not my place

  2. I love that you use the word “Dismissed”. I usually use “Off you go.” I may have to steal yours!

    I also recognize the bark and whine. We have a few hounds in our walking group at the dog park and when they find a squirrel or chippy, they will stand at a tree and bark for it to ome down. Always makes me laugh. I don’t believe I have seen one jump down for a dog yet. :)

    One of the reasons I love our dog park is because it is so much like taking a walk through the woods off-leash, but you have a fence to keep them safe. My dogs love the freedom to snif and run and I love the walk. It looks like you and Honey enjoy the walks too. :)

    • I liked “Dismissed” too. It’s cute if a little British Public School.

      But the audio probably wasn’t clear. Her release is actually, “Go Sniff.” I mostly use it to distinguish between when I need her to walk by my side (on leash) and when she can do as she likes (except for pulling).

      I never know when a squirrel will get Honey’s attention. Only some do.

      I love the pictures of your dog park. It looks beautiful. I wish ours were so nice.

  3. Gwynn gets time off leash in the creek valley near my house. There’s a trail that runs a few kilometres along the creek, through heavy woodland you’d never guess existed in Toronto. He might go after the occasional squirrel, but only within sight of me, and then he’s right back, checking in. off-leash time really does make a world fo difference for a dog.

    • It’s really fun to find those secret places in town. Ithaca is tiny compared to Toronto. But Honey and I have explored lots of places most dogwalkers never see.

  4. Honey has quite a cute swagger when she walks. She is so smart and adorable!

  5. It’s so dark now during our walks that I can’t really let her go off leash except on weekends. It really, really sucks. I think both of us are cracking under the strain of boring on-leash jaunts around the neighbourhood!

    It’s great that Honey stays so close to you that you can drop the leash this way! I can’t really do that with Shiva as even with leash attached once she learns she is free, she always chooses to run instead of walk. She doesn’t go anywhere but it can be dangerous. For the most part for any off-leash time we stick to off-leash trails where she is allowed to move as fast as she wants.

    Honey looks so happy. I think I smiled the whole way through this video!

    • I can certainly relate. Both Christie and Shadow were dogs who picked up speed off leash and could be off following a scent in moments. I feel very lucky that Honey and I can do this sometimes because different dogs have different drives.

      I hope you get a nice dump of snow that causes you to miss work. That way you could take Shiva out off-leash without worrying she’d run too far in the snow over her head.

      And thanks for noticing how happy Honey looked. I feel bad because so many of the photos I take of her she’s not. But she loves being loose and walking along the creek.

  6. I love to let the dogs go off leash. There are some nice places around here, in fact, we are talking about one on Friday. I think dogs need to be dogs sometimes and run free, well as free as they can safely.

    • I wish it were safe to let Honey loose all the time. But we’ll take what we can get.

      I hope you have fun with Torrey and Roxy on Friday.

  7. There are too many evil cats in our neighborhood and all recalls, watch me’s and leave it’s lose their power when evil cats dart across the street. We do let them off leash when we go on hikes during the summer.

    • Yep, you gotta know what’s too much for your dogs to ignore. For Honey, it’s friendly people.

      A few moments before the video footage, I had to pick up her leash because someone was walking near us on the path. She’s more likely to run to a person than she is to chase a squirrel. And, luckily, she only chases one mean cat in the neighborhood.

      BTW, when the cats start digging in my garden again, can I borrow your dogs? :)

  8. Teaching her to look at you instead of the squirrel… I bet that was a lot of work. I don’t think I could get my dogs to do that. My dogs walk around the neighborhood on a leash. I will occasionally take my Maya to the dog park but Pierson can’t go there because he is dog-aggressive.

    • I am proud of Honey with the squirrel. But I’d only expect her to stay nearby about 85% of the time. She’s not foolproof. Luckily, this path is nowhere near any roads in case she meets a provocative, suicidal squirrel.

      Poor Pierson. I also couldn’t let Shadow off leash very often because she wasn’t comfortable at the dog park and wasn’t trustworthy enough anywhere that wasn’t fenced.

      Wouldn’t it be nice if you could sign up for 30 minutes at the dog park all alone?

  9. We don’t often see squirrels here – that is very good of Honey. It’s great when the training pays off like that.

    • We’ve worked hard to teach Honey to turn her attention away from squirrels about 85-90% of the time. But, if one of her human friends hopped out of the same tree, I’m sure she’d forget everything she ever learned.

      You gotta pick your battles, right? :)

  10. Woof! Woof! I’m happy to report that my pees trained me well and I get lots of compliments. I know well the word heel and I can walk in between them (with no leash). Happy Wednesday. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

    • You and your person are a good team if you can heel off leash. Honey doesn’t like to do that for long but I suspect she’ll find it easier as she gets older.

      Lotsa Wednesday Woofs right back atcha!

  11. Mowzers, you’re far better trained than Allie. She sees a squirl, she RUNS after it!

  12. Honey is trying to tell you about the evil lurking above and she got the message across. I’m sure you have worked hard training her, but well-bred Golden Retrievers are so smart and responsive.

  13. Unfortunately, Y-Bo is not so well trained off leash. (Totally my fault, I know!) He’ll come back eventually…That said, I do love to walk him and my grandson, the pTiny pTerodactyl together…one in a stroller the other on a leash LOL. Y stays exactly on my left, next to the stroller and has learned not to sniff as we walk. Makes for a nice outing for all three of us and obviously shows where my priorities are! We do have a yard where he can run free. Sometimes we go to a local tennis court–empty–and he has a great time running free!

    • Your walks with Y-Bo and your grandson sound wonderful. :)

      Of the dogs I’ve lived with, two could be trusted off leash, two could not. I believe any dog can improve their recall with practice. But I wouldn’t beat yourself up if you rely on the leash most to keep Y-Bo safe. Some dogs are more independent and daring than others.

      That’s what keeps things fun. :)

  14. That was great! I love how she sticks so closely to you, mine are never that close. There are areas where we walk where Delilah is and probably always will be leashed. It’s just better for my sanity that way. đŸ˜‰

    • I don’t believe any dog is 100% reliable off-leash. So I too pick my places very carefully.

      And I certainly know that some dogs will never be safe off-leash. You and Delilah have come so far in such a short time. So enjoy your sanity. You’ve earned it. :)

  15. Seeing Honey in motion reminded me of what a beautiful dog she is! I had to mute the yips in the middle; got too much reaction from the pack – HA. My late Penney always was off leash, always came home and when I walked anyone, she circled and kept me in her eye sight. Have a great week!

    • Funny thing is, I had to mute it too. Honey ended up barking at herself. :)

      Penney sounds like she was a wonderful and reliable girl. Very few dogs can handle off-leash nearly everywhere.

  16. We have a wonderful HUGE off-leash park/beach called “Fiesta Island”, but I call it “Disneyland for dogs”. I think it’s something like 100 acres. We go at least 3 times a week for an hour each time. Rita runs and plays with her friend and gets covered in sand and salt water. It makes the car an absolute mess, but it wears her out for the rest of the day!
    The only time she runs far off from me is when she sees the lady we know who is always packin’ treats! As soon as Rita here’s her voice, she takes off to get a treat. But the park is mostly fenced in, so I don’t really have to worry about her there.
    Honey is SO gorgeous!

  17. What a good girl she is and what a beautiful area to take a walk. We do what you do. We allow Dakota to drag his leash. He would never run away but we also like the leash dragging so that we may grab him if we have to.

  18. Ha-ha! I do the same thing, I leave the leash on so I can thrown my whole body on it if I need too!

  19. We unfortunately have no (legal) off leash places in my town. Or, they just added a fenced dog park type area, but we haven’t visited yet.

    The “look at me” when a squirrel happens IS hard to train! Elka and I worked on as well that all spring, I do think she’s got it!

  20. The Greyhounds always walk on leash, and so does Morgan. Kuster goes off leash in certain places, because he has to learn how to do it, but it scares my husband witless. I’m not sure why, because he has a pretty darned good recall — especially outside.

  21. She’s just so cute! Cali has always enjoyed her off leash jaunts! (especially if there are puddles around!!) Her recall isn’t as good as it used to be, but we think it’s because she doesn’t hear quite as well as she used to (or, it’s selective hearing!!)

  22. What an adorable video if Honey, she has a beautiful face. I love the look on her face when she’s looking back at you to see what you want her to do:-) we always have weekend off leash because of the large area(miles) of woods and creek behind our home. It’s public space so there is usually no one else back there. I don’t really have to worry about them running. Newfs (mine)are really not interested in chasing deer, rabbits, squirrels etc. and since they are rescue dogs they always keep you in site. I would never have them off leash in a new area. Not because I’m afraid they will stray but I don’t want anything to happen to them:)

  23. We have places that I love to roam about off lead. In London its Wimbledon Commons and here in Switzerland we go to Lake Divonne in France, both places car free and beautiful. However I still do not listen if there is a squirrel in my view and love to chase them up trees! However I have learned to ignore swans and ducks! A wagging weekend to you all!