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Old 07.01.2011, 19:00
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fenced in areas for dogs?

Hello! I'm new to Zurich (3 weeks) and I know there are no dog parks but does anyone know of any fenced in area for dogs to run? I've got a 45 kg dog which needs to run around and she's not very obedient off leash. The problem we've encountered is that smaller dogs pick fights wth her and when she barks or growls back at them the smaller dog owner's perceive her as threatening due to her size! Which isn't the case- she as sweet as can be and wants to play with every dog she sees, she's just BIG.
I'd love to find a place where she can run but don't trust her to come when called- she's very stubborn! A breed trait unfortunately which we've never been able to conquer with training. Thanks for any info any one can provide. She's an Anatolian Shepherd Dog by the way... and her owners are from the US.
Sue
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Old 08.01.2011, 02:48
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Re: fenced in areas for dogs?

Hi Sue!

You might find reading through the following thread helpful...

"Secret" Dog Parks....??

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Old 08.01.2011, 09:55
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Re: fenced in areas for dogs?

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I've got a 45 kg dog which needs to run around and she's not very obedient off leash.
You need to fix this before letting her off the lead .
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Old 08.01.2011, 18:47
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Re: fenced in areas for dogs?

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Hello! I'm new to Zurich (3 weeks) and I know there are no dog parks but does anyone know of any fenced in area for dogs to run? I've got a 45 kg dog which needs to run around and she's not very obedient off leash. The problem we've encountered is that smaller dogs pick fights wth her and when she barks or growls back at them the smaller dog owner's perceive her as threatening due to her size! Which isn't the case- she as sweet as can be and wants to play with every dog she sees, she's just BIG.
I'd love to find a place where she can run but don't trust her to come when called- she's very stubborn! A breed trait unfortunately which we've never been able to conquer with training. Thanks for any info any one can provide. She's an Anatolian Shepherd Dog by the way... and her owners are from the US.
Sue
If you are looking for those American dog-park equivalent here in Zurich, there arent ANY fenced in areas for dogs to run here in Zürich. There are however big open spaces and generally, dogs off leash here are well behaved and socialised.

No offence, but do not be so quick to point the finger at smaller dogs picking fights with your dog. Nor write off her stubborness as a "breed trait" that you cannot conqueur with training. Maybe because I am of the view that no dog is untrainable - stubborn yes but with strong human leadership, the most aggressive, problematic of dogs will learn to behave and respect you in time. Yes, the Anatolian Shepherd is known for being stubborn (then again, so are terriers, bulldogs etc), but I call it independent as they are originally bred to be responsible for their master's flock of sheep without much human direction - but they are SUPER intelligent which can be an asset in training and conveying what you want.

Till then, I suggest you invest time in training, socialising with older/calmer dogs (just put up a thread in the events corner and see whose up for lending a helping hand), practicing her recall (use a schlep-line which can be easily obtainable from Qualipet) and establishing your leadership before letting her off the lead here. Redirect her energy with structured power walks and runs on the lead.
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Old 08.01.2011, 21:06
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Re: fenced in areas for dogs?

Sue, I can empathize, as I my reactive dog cannot go off-lead in many situations. I have had to get creative to ensure that my mutts get the exercise they need.

First, do you have a garden? A garden does not have to be big to give a dog a good bit of exercise if you use it for interactive play. In our normal Swiss-sized garden I play search games, set up mini-Agility obstacles two at a time, play fetch games, help-me-while-I-pull-weeds games, hide and seek (i.e., recall) games - brain training games will tire a dog out far faster than just running will - and it helps to cement your bond, a key to training a good recall. If you have a garden, even a small one, playing games outside together will go a long way to fulfilling your dog's need for free movement.

Second, from your post there seem to be two behaviors to focus on to help your dog enjoy being out and about in the Swiss countryside: reactivity/socialization with other dogs, and recall on your command.

I felt I needed to work on reactivity issues first with my dog, even though it meant limiting freedom in the short term, before we moved on to off-lead free play - perhaps this would be an approach that might work for you as well. So we don't have dog parks - use the on-lead time as a training opportunity! Then move on to working on recall.

Because my girl is reactive I need to manage encounters with unknown dogs. I can't control other people's dogs, I can only control mine. At the beginning of our rehab work I deliberately chose walks where other dogs were also going to be on-lead so as to avoid encounters my dog could not handle. Equally important, knowing that other dogs were not likely to run up gave me the breathing room I needed to be in the right frame of mind to work with my girl. With (most) everyone on-lead (keeping mine on a loose lead, not tense!) I could work at a distance under my dog's threshold so that she could stay in learning mode.

I mention this because of your comment about your dog's response to other dogs 'picking fights' - this may well be fear reactivity similar to my mutt's issues. It does not matter who 'picks the fight' the key thing for your dog's sake is not to let it happen in the first place, as every single encounter is a learning experience. The more your dog gets to 'practice' reactive behavior (or any behavior, good or bad, for that matter) the more ingrained it becomes.

I'm well aware of the whole freeze, flight, fiddle about, fight spectrum - but knowing the extent of my dog's behavior (and the potential consequences) I decided to remove the choice at this stage of her training. I took away the flight option, but I also took away the fight need at the same time by keeping her at a distance under threshold - and in an area where she was unlikely to meet off lead dogs.

We worked with distraction (special high value treat given at the first sign of tense body language to get her focus on me rather than the threat), and changing the association. In time the 'threat' became a stimulus for something good (Ooo, a dog I don't know.... special treat time, yipee! ), rather than the stimulus for fear response (Ooo, a dog I don't know - better bark and lunge like a mad thing to disguise how terrified I am.) Gradually we were able to reduce the threshold distance. It was also important that she learned to trust me, that I would handle any situation, that she did not have to. (Bonding, confident body language, predictable response, etc.)

Once she could handle proximity to unknown dogs, then it was time to move on to areas where other dogs were off-lead, to work on her recall, etc.

Reactivity is a tough thing to rehabilitate, as it is adrenaline driven. But living as we do in Switzerland if a dog is going to be allowed off-lead, socialization is necessary.

The second behavior issue is recall. This is a life-long training issue. Start in your garden, proof your dog's recall in as many different situations as you can think of, with as many distractions as you can set up. Repetition and reward are the keys. But a good recall in the garden doesn't guarantee a good recall in an open space - this too needs training, training and training again. While you are working on it, consider using a long line - this gives your dog some extra freedom while you still have control.

(Have a read through the 'Off Lead Dogs Attack' thread in the complaints corner - you'll see how people, dog owners and non-doggy folks alike, react to dogs whose recall is not good enough.)

It goes back to the practicing behaviors thing - the more your dog 'practices' not coming immediately when you call, the more ingrained that behavior will become. Set him up for success at first by only putting him in situations you think he will respond, and then practice practice practice. Then move the bar a bit - and practice, practice practice some more. And again... While you are out and about, randomly recall your dog to you. Reward every time he comes back right away. Eventually you will find that he starts 'checking in' with you, keeping his focus more on you than the interesting things under the hedges.


So - where can you exercise?

I would recommend getting involved in a training school or club. Above all else, this has been the saving of my girl. The training school is her 'safe' place - here she gets to meet a variety of other dogs, but in a controlled fashion. She gets to run off-lead with the group around the training ground at random break times times during class, but then has to quickly return and focus on me as we do our exercises. My girl has come so very far, thanks to the help and support of our trainers, and the opportunities for safe socialization the classes afford her.

I wish she could run at will, whenever, wherever - I hope someday we can do so, safely. She has made wonderful progress, but we still have a ways to go. So until then we make do in our garden, at the training grounds, scheduling meet-ups with dogs she knows and likes - and hiking up and down the mountains. 500 meters up and down, up and down, up and down burns off a heck of a lot of energy.

Hope you find a solution that works for you and your dog.

Last edited by meloncollie; 08.01.2011 at 21:16.
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Old 08.01.2011, 23:46
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Re: fenced in areas for dogs?

The other thing with off-lead stuff and a large dog is that typically other owners are the problem, especially if they have lapdogs. My older dog is one of the largest breeds there is and he's never been good at ignoring other dogs because he wants to make friends with every dog he sees - and subordinate himself to them: watching a deerhound try to get below a chihuahua is quite an amusing sight lol. Unfortunately most other owners are intimidated by his size and their dogs take their cue from the owners' reaction. He's also a sight hound so I have to be looking miles ahead of him (a challenge) and recall before he sees, otherwise the sight hound instincts take over. As he also has a degenerative disease and one run that is too fast and he can't control could disable him permanently, I basically keep him on lead when there are other dogs about - when there's nobody, then he goes free and is no trouble.
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Old 09.01.2011, 15:38
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Re: fenced in areas for dogs?

Touka is always on a leash. In the US - at least where I lived -there are leash laws and I've always obeyed them. The only time she's been off leash is in a dog park and it's only been a good time when she's been in parks that have "large dog" sections. It seems that none of the dogs in my neighborhood are ever on a leash !! so we are constantly being ambushed by other dogs running round the corner straight into us... even in the woods, where it is my understanding that dogs are to be leashed due to the presence of deer and other wildlife. Touka wants to play with every dog she sees and is very friendly and not aggressive. We don't have a garden and she plays well with larger dogs, it really does tend to be the smaller ones and I think it is true to a certain degree that the other dogs' owners are intimidated by Touka's size and their dogs cue in to that. I would love to check out a dog club - it sounds lke a great way for Touka and I to work on our issues- I say "our" b/c I do recognize it's usually the owner and not the dog that has the issue! Can anyone recommend one in Zurich - from personal experience? Are they expensive? I appreciate everyone's feedback.

Also - about these "Schlep lines" are there different sized ones for different weights of dogs, i.e., will the same line used for a small dog hold for a 45 kg dog?
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Old 09.01.2011, 16:27
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Re: fenced in areas for dogs?

We adopted our dog when she was already about 8, and she is not good with other dogs, for all sorts of reasons. If they come running up to her and sniffing her backside, she will turn. Because of her age, and our circumstances at the time, we decided it was perhaps too late to train her, and take appropriate action. We only walk her in country lanes and away from all habitations- and will put her on the leash and walk away from potential problems. A dog park would be totally unsuitable, as it would be full of ... dogs. I regularly drive her to the mountains near us and small farm tracks where I am very unlikely to meet anyone (although she is great with people)- and keep her not to far away by voice. I feel that she is MY problem and would not expect others to have to suffer or take action on our behalf.

Did you have your dog as a puppy, or did it come to you 'with baggage' as our Gatsby?
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Old 09.01.2011, 18:51
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Re: fenced in areas for dogs?

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Also - about these "Schlep lines" are there different sized ones for different weights of dogs, i.e., will the same line used for a small dog hold for a 45 kg dog?

Sue I make my own Schleppleine out of climbing rope and a carabiner or clip. You can get a variety of strengths - my guys are 10-16 kg, so I use a fairly lightweight rope. You can find this stuff at climbing stores, but I buy it at Coop B/H for a tiny fraction of the 'profi' price. You can also find the materials to make your own at Landi, again at very good prices.

The Schleppleine you find at the pet store are indeed different weights - you will need something that will hold up to your dog's strength when running as he normally does. To start, probably choose a middle weight, one that feels comfortable to you. Or better yet, ask the staff at the pet store - they should be able to advise you.

And if you haven't used one before - never attach a long line to a collar, only to a harness. The long line allows a dog to build up a nice head of steam - if you pull taught , or the line gets caught you could injure his throat.

As for the cost of training classes - all over the ball park.

To give you an idea, though - I have a yearly 'Familienhund' abo for each of my guys, ca CHF 600 for 40 or so lessons. Other classes like Team Training are something like CHF 20-25-ish per class, and Agility once a week is CHF 250-ish per semester.

I train in SZ, so unless you are right on the border probably too far for you - but take a look at the Certodog website for trainers by canton:

http://www.certodog.ch/filemanager/1292824288.pdf

There are many other training organizations, though. You can also look at the BVet database for SKN qualified trainers - most will also offer other training opportinities: (Searchable by PLZ)

http://bvet.bytix.com/plus/trainer/

Good luck!

Last edited by meloncollie; 09.01.2011 at 20:39.
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