Bird Dog’s Brush with Law


More days than not, I wake up in the morning and throw my dog, Beau, in the back of my old SUV and head to work. There are numerous studies that state having a dog around the workplace greatly improves employees’ morale and productivity, but I drag around the mutt for a much more selfish reason:  I want her to hit the fields running this fall, and lunch-break training sessions at the local park are a great way to accomplish this without giving up much free time.

Sounds like a great idea, right? I thought so too.

Recently, Beau and I rolled into the park’s lot and I put on her e-collar, slipped a lead over her neck and walked to the far end of the property to partake in another uneventful retrieving session, or so we thought.

About 10 minutes into practicing remote releases and the “whoa” command, a city police officer drove up the walking path and parked 20 yards away from us:

ME: Can I help you, Officer?

Officer: How’s it going? Do you know having your dog off leash here is against city ordinance?

ME: To be honest, yeah, that wouldn’t surprise me, but we’re 500 yards away from anyone and she has an e-collar on.

Officer: I see that, but that doesn’t count as a leash and I could write you a ticket. We’ll just consider this a warning, but other officers might not be as lenient.

ME: What about that spaniel I saw walking around with its leash dragging on the ground behind him?

Officer: Technically, it’s on a leash.

ME: You’ve got to be kidding me.

Officer: (Deadpan stare)

He wasn’t kidding me.

Many bird dog owners and their companions face similar “space” challenges. Are you an urban or suburban bird dog owner? Have you had trouble finding unrestricted areas to train, or gotten in trouble training your dog in a public area?

As for me, next time maybe I’ll just let Beau drag a 3 foot lead around…

 - Andrew Vavra, Pheasants Forever’s Marketing Specialist