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Old 12-15-2013, 06:43 AM
Location: Northern Virginia
4,489 posts, read 9,563,765 times
Reputation: 3656


Originally Posted by flyinhyphy View Post
I've always wanted for Annie (our JRT mix) to do some dog sports because she is amazingly fast and agile. But she isn't the most socialized dog. She's come a long way, but has a ways to go. I'll definitely check into it, but I worry she will just hide if there are other dogs in class with her.
A good trainer will keep dogs separate and will help shut down dogs succeed in a group class. If you're really concerned, nosework is a really safe, low pressure way to introduce the dogs to a group setting. It is marketed as a great class for fearful or aggressive dogs, because it's 1 dog out at a time, with everyone else crated/leashed behind a solid barrier. (I find it kind of boring after the high of running agility, but it is definitely on the agenda for my food crazy dog once she's too old to do obstacle courses safely anymore!)

I've found that agility is a wonderful way to build confidence into fearful dogs. (I would assume rally and treibball and others are the same way). A good class is run using 100% positive reinforcement, and the dog learns that trying new things is rewarding and beneficial to her. It's not an overnight transition, but if you're patient and work at the dog's pace, I've seen dogs that were too scared to take a treat on night 1 run a full agility course in competition a few years later. (You can even start with private lessons if group class is really overwhelming).

If this is something you end up pursuing, shoot me a PM with who you're looking to take classes with, and I can give you the low down on whether I think it's a good idea for a fearful dog or not. There are a handful of trainers/organizations in the area that still use punishment/yank and crank, and those kind of trainers will destroy a fearful dog.
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Old 12-15-2013, 08:50 PM
617 posts, read 1,153,696 times
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Hey, I was just thinking about this thread when I was doing my long run on the Mount Vernon Trail this morning, especially since you're in the Alexandria area. There's a park that has an open field next to it, I've seen folks with a dog or two running around tossing Frisbee's and throwing balls.

The field is surrounded by a post and rail fence, so there's nothing to keep the dog from taking off, it needs to be well trained. The GW parkway is right there, but you'd have to cross the trail as well as the local residential street to get to it, it's a nearby danger but not immediate. I'm looking at Google Maps right now to see if I can figure out what the place was called, it had a park sign at the entrance...

...okay, found it on Google Maps. It's called Collingwood Park. You can Google Map it and put the little person on West Boulevard Drive outside the entrance to get a street view of what I'm talking about. I don't know if it's legal or if people just use it, because I've seen it used a bunch. You can also get an idea of how close the parkway is and make a decision. Looks like it's about 4 miles from the center of Groveton.

I'm not going to lecture you one way or the other; whether you should go or run your dog off a leash or whatever, but it might be what you're looking for.
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Old 12-16-2013, 06:01 AM
291 posts, read 494,490 times
Reputation: 177
Originally Posted by CaliTerp07 View Post
4. Off leash places
There is only 1 place in Northern Virginia that I will recommend as off leash, because it's the only non-dogpark park that I know of that allows it. It's a trek, but it's worth it at least once. The Virginia Arboretum is 100's of acres of off leash space. They also allow horses, and there are a few roads that go through it, but it's wonderful for a day of hiking when the weather is nice. There is a pond/creek your dog can muddy herself up in, fields to run in, corn fields to get lost in, and plenty of space to stay away from other dogs if that's your thing.

Arboretum - blandy
I didn't know that they allowed this. Thanks for the heads up!
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Old 12-16-2013, 07:59 PM
Location: Town of Herndon/DC Metro
2,282 posts, read 5,575,674 times
Reputation: 1170
I forgot:

Take a drive to DC's Congressional Cemetary.. They have a dog program and Its great

Dogwalking Program | Historic Congressional Cemetery
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