Is the cottage your off-leash dog park?

By Penny Caldwell »Penny Caldwell

Tuesdays with Mitch: dogs, wildlife, and our very polite vet

February 7th, 2012



Mitch is walking well on the leash and off. In our area, it happens that dogs are often off-leash, just like at the cottage, and so a story in the new issue of Cottage Life (it mails to subscribers this week) got me thinking about the controversy over off-leash dogs, especially at the lake. It is a charming tale about professional dog walkers who take their canine clients to the cottage for the weekend. I don’t know if these particular pups are allowed to run off-leash when they go on their mini-vacations; however, most cottage owners I know do let their four-legged pals run free.

We do too, but I appreciate the potential problem: the trouble out-of-control dogs can create for wildlife (not to mention themselves). Experts in the management of wildlife say that if your dog won’t come when called, and if you can’t watch him every minute he’s outdoors, Fido should be on a leash.

What’s your policy? Dogs on- or off-leash at the cottage?

On another front, Mitch got his third set of shots last week. Here’s what the vet said:

1. He’s very handsome

2. He’s very intelligent

(Shucks, I’ll be he says that about all his patients.)

What we know for sure:

1. Last week Mitch weighed 17 kg, the same as the new polar bear cub at the Toronto Zoo when it was weighed.

2. His adult front teeth have come in. Our vet says he’s probably swallowing the baby teeth, since we haven’t found any lying around on the floor amongst the shredded paper.

3. He could still lose his curly locks, because he will still shed a couple of coats before his adult coat fills in.

4. And, well yes, he’s very handsome and very intelligent!

More next Tuesday…



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Feb. 16, 2012

3:54 pm

We are so lucky that our cottage is surrounded by woodland where Gracie can run free. Not that she does, as she sticks pretty close to us. The closest camp is about 500-600' from us through thick bush. We have on occasion had 'their dogs visit us, but very rarely! My daughter's dog is deaf. She never gets a chance to run off-leash at home. She is one HAPPY dog when she visits us at the lake. Even though she can't hear us call her, she sticks by Gracie most of the time and will come when we call Gracie. If she goes a little too far, we send Gracie to get her.

Penny Caldwell

Summer Cottager

Feb. 9, 2012

1:11 pm

Woo hoo! A comment! Good to hear from you CottageGardener. (I LOVE to hear from readers.) Your reference to sharing the thick coats made me laugh. My little curly-haired creature hasn’t shed much so far—not like our previous dog did. But then it’s still cold outside and Mitch likes to spend time playing in the backyard by himself (it’s amazing what he can find to amuse himself), so he probably needs his thick coat to keep warm. We can‘t wait to take Mitch to the cottage and see how he likes Georgian Bay.


Feb. 8, 2012

1:07 pm

We have two golden retrievers who get to wander around the cottage property at will. We have extensive gardens and as a result have put up deer fencing and gates, allowing free movement for the dogs. Our dogs are thirteen years old, with some ailments of old age. They still like to greet anyone who tries to walk past the driveway, but are not nearly as loud or fast as in their prime. Because of bad legs, neither is able to swim, although wading keeps them cool. You asked about curly haired retrievers. Ours are litter mates and one has quite curly hair and the other's is straight. Both have very thick coats, which they generously share with anyone who comes near!

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