The Doggie Diaries - Pippi Off the Leash

More on PawNation: dalmatian, dog behavior, DogBehavior, doggie diaries, doggiediaries, Off leash, OffLeash, pet safety, PetSafety

The Doggie Diaries pippi off leash Dalmatian Anna Westhoff

Each week, Ben Westhoff shares the ups and downs of owning Pippi, the dalmatian mix he and his wife Anna adopted as a puppy in late 2009, and the first dog Ben's ever had.

Pippi needs a ton of exercise. At barely more than a year old, she's still a puppy, and a dalmatian puppy at that. When my "little brother" Jorell was here, he was good about giving Pippi some extra running-around time every day. Now that he's gone, she tends to get more rambunctious, particularly in the evening when Anna and I are both home.

Pippi regularly needs new forms of stimulation. We used to take her into our neighbor's fenced-in backyard to run around, but one day she seemed to tire of it for no apparent reason. Instead of chasing her ball around, all she wanted to do was chew on wood chips and anything else she found lying on the ground.

She loves to gallop, but she needed a new venue. In that relatively small backyard, all she can really do is run around in circles. Recently we had the bright idea to let her run around in our nearby park at night. Suburban outlaws that we are, we let her do it off-leash. We unlatch her, throw a stick, and she goes after it. Though she's good about retrieving it, she's not so great about bringing it back. But she has a fun time tearing around, and usually returns to us without much delay.

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