While we were on our trip, we had a rare opportunity with Silas. My in-laws own a relatively large chunk of property. It isn’t entirely fenced, but a dog would have to have serious determination to escape to get through the tangle of honeysuckle vines and blackberry briars on the boundary lines. So we let Silas off leash there.
He was so good. Beyond their back yard is a ten acre or so field, formerly farmed but now mostly grown up in seven foot high grasses. My father-in-law keeps a ten or twelve foot wide path mowed around the outside, and there is a large, irregularly shaped clearing in the center where he’s growing some rare/native plants. The native plants are also pretty tall these days.
For the first part of the day, we walked with Silas around the outside of the field. He wanted to be first, and fairly far away–maybe 50 feet or so. He never got farther than that, and he would come reasonably close if I called him back. If I knelt down, he would run for me like a crazy, and from time to time he would wander back to check on us. For an independent dog who has almost never been off leash, I was impressed.
Later in the afternoon we figured out Silas’s new favorite game. We led Silas into the clearing, and then we took turns hiding around/behind the stands of native plants. The non-hider would say, “Silas, where is (named person)? Can you find him/her?” And he would take off, top speed, looking all over. While he was loving that person, the other person would go hide. He was having the time of his life.
At my parents’ house we stuck with the more boring, but still more fun than he has here, game of letting him drag his long line while chasing his big orange ball.
I didn’t take a single photo, so I’ll share the video of Silas running around on our June vacation. (He is on his long-line, but you can’t see it.) I make a weird noise at the 30-second mark, because we spotted a huge groundhog off to the left of the frame. You can see my husband point toward it, and then we were kind of desperate to keep Silas from noticing it. Just FYI, this is way short of top-speed for Silas.
The only downside is that now I feel more guilty about our city-dog, no-yard lifestyle than ever. I don’t trust other dog owners enough to use the dog park, and the people-parks are all on-leash.