One of the things I love about NYC is the off-leash policy in designated city parks. From dusk until 9am the following morning dogs are allowed to roam around off-leash 7 days a week.
As I've mentioned before, G and I used to do this almost every weekend when we lived in Midtown East because we were so close to Central Park (it's the reason she ended up in the book!). Alas, as we've moved several times since, I've let the off-leashing fall by the wayside a bit. Not only are we much farther from Central Park, G actually ends up sleeping in on the weekends with me and we usually don't really get up until a little after 9am anyway.
To be honest, the other reasons I haven't done as much off-leashing as of late? First, her recall to me is not always the best and I get nervous when she doesn't listen if I need her to come. Further, the last time we off-leashed in Central Park, she got into a tussle with another dog and I ended up getting a large gash on my hand when I tried to pull them apart. Instead of addressing the issue, I instead just stopped off-leashing.
Well, this weekend, we awoke bright and early around 6:30am and I thought, "What the heck, let's give it another go." As her training has been going very well lately, I decided that this was as good a time as any!
G and I made our way over to Riverside Park and G had a ball playing and sniffing in the trees. We practiced coming back to me on command and I made sure to give her lots of praise. She gently greeted other dogs and ran all over the place (including through some extra large mud puddles) and was overall really great!
The only minor issue we ran into was that I had called her to me after she got a bit of a ways away. In her excitement at being outdoors, she came running toward me and full throttle. Another dog who was running off-leash with its owner near by, suddenly sprinted toward her as if to chase (I'm thinking the other dog may have had a high prey drive and though G was chasing something) and came over barking. G was a bit confused and perceived the dog as a threat - she began barking and actually ran into the dog in her haste.
I remained calm and told her sternly to come to me and she immediately finished barking and trotted over. I was very proud her ability to listen, even in a tension-filled situation. I again praised her for listening and we headed home!