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Expert Offers Tips On Walking Your Dog In Westport's Aspetuck Land Trust

From left, Jason Hofmann, dog trainer owner of 203 Pet Services; Milan Bull, Senior Director of Science and Research Connecticut Audubon Society and his dog, Edge, an English field spaniel.
From left, Jason Hofmann, dog trainer owner of 203 Pet Services; Milan Bull, Senior Director of Science and Research Connecticut Audubon Society and his dog, Edge, an English field spaniel. Photo Credit: Contributed

FAIRFIELD, Conn. - Dog trainer Jason Hofmann, owner of 203 Pet Service in Fairfield, offers up tips for walking your dog in the woods -- it may not be as simple as you think.

What would seem to be a simple pleasure for both human and animal may not always be the case, he said. Hofmann offers some practical tips to allow dog owners to enhance their experience.

To enjoy the outdoors with your pet, dog walkers first should understand there are often different regulations in place for parks, which are often dedicated primarily to recreation, versus open space preserves. Being aware of posted dog walking regulations is essential.

Even though they may resemble parks, preserves and open space areas (some privately owned, some government owned) usually have conservation of the environment as the first priority. Recreation policies, including dog walking, and public access in these locations can vary from one open space to another depending on specific land management policies.

Hofmann, who is a collaborator with Milan Bull and the Aspetuck Land Trust in a series of “Tails and Trails” dog owner education hikes, offers the following four tips to help dog owners and their dogs enjoy the outdoors and avoid conflict:

  • If you walk your dog off leash but can’t depend on the dog to always come to you quickly on command, keep your dog on leash until you create a better recall habit for your dog. “You should always make yourself more entertaining and interesting than any distraction. Training with treats, extra affection, games all can make it fun for the dog to listen and obey,” adds Hoffman.
  • Avoid situations where an on leash dog interacts with an off leash dog. “There is a tendency for a dog on a leash to be more reactive. If your dog is off leash and is near a leashed dog, the most courteous thing to do is leash your dog until past the distraction,” Hoffman said.
  • Know your dog’s limitations and behavior triggers. “Be aware of them and use your best judgment before taking your dog off leash,” Hoffman says.
  • If a dog is in conflict with another dog and aggressive behavior is present or seems possible, it is your responsibility to protect your dog.

Learn more about 203 Pet Services at its website .

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