Saturday, April 14, 2012

Focus on Fun: The Hunting Grounds

Booooooooooooooorn Freeeeeeeeeeee

Where:  Nameless spot, Exeter NH

The perks:

I love this place!  It is a short walk from the parking area through a field and a patch of trees, then it's all fields.  This 1,000 acre spot is used to train hunting dogs a few months out of the year, otherwise it's open to public use.  There is a channel of streams in a grid through the large fields to splash through and patches of forest surround the fields.

With so much open space, I usually pick this spot to try dogs off leash.  There is a fence outlining the outer edge, but our walking spot is a good way from anything.  With the trees as a natural barrier and enough deer poop to keep a dog happy for years, I find this is perfect for training.  The dogs can run here and there, near and far, but I can always keep them in sight.  Shirley, Bradie, and Cody were all able to run free here and came when called- they couldn't let the other dogs get their share of treats!

This is also a bit of a secret spot.  The entrance is not labeled and doesn't look like much of anything- plus it doesn't have a name.  My brother used the turn-in once when he was lost and saw people with their dogs off in the distance, so I checked it out.  I rarely run into anyone there and can easily keep my distance when I see someone.  Parker and Skye love it here and will run themselves silly by the time I loop back to the car.

Needs improvement:

This is a very short list.  One is that all those streams mean that you'd better have your rain boots on!  Plus, expect your dogs to be gross after an hour of muck hopping and rolling in the grass.  It's inevitable, but we always play in the sprinkler once we get home.

Also, being the hunting grounds, you need to avoid hunters.  I don't usually go during deer or turkey season because it's a little intense.  Frankly, I hate hunting, and I'd rather avoid men with guns.  Plus, the noise makes Parker nervous.

All in all:

This place is a real gem.  It's virtually untouched- the only path leads from the parking area through the first patch of trees.  The open fields make for a ton of dog fun and a sure bet your pup will be tired!


Thanks for all the comments on my last post!  Bradie is a bit more intense than the average boxer pup- he is the family's third and has really taken them by surprise.  He is incredibly confident, intelligent, and mischievous- which tends to result in trouble at home.  However, we talked it over today and will be putting a renewed effort into his training and exercise routine.  They already go above and beyond for Bradie, but we're making this extra push to see what changes.  You'll probably see more of him on the blog, as I'll be taking him on some of our adventures during the week as well.  Bradie was very happy to see his family today and is so tired from his week away that he couldn't wait to get in the car!


  1. What a great spot! That is so awesome. That last picture is priceless!

  2. When I was reading this I thought that it would be a spot you would take a dog that is already well trained off leash not the opposite. Having an open field seams like a dog would be more incline to not come back to you, than being on a path. When you try them off leash in this situation what makes them want to come back to you? And if i did this would you suggest having a dog with us that has a good recall? (I'm very nervous about off leash work if you couldn't tell ;) )

    1. I would love to know the answer to this as well.

  3. Wow, that place looks like a dream! Rufus definitely does much better with recall and impulse control when we are in an open field. Give him a forest, and he turns into this very adorable (but maddening) wild animal. Any tips on perfecting recall? I know I need to use higher value treats and a distinct sound (you mentioned the whistle), but he still meanders even when he does come. That hound nose of his gets him into lots of trouble.

  4. Lucky you! (Lucky dogs!!) Places like this make me wish I lived further out of the city. Sure the city has plenty of dog "areas" but they're so separated from nature it's almost cruel. The only real place here is 30-40 minutes away -- kind of not worth it unless it's an exceptionally beautiful day in P-town.

  5. What a great place to romp around in! You must be exhausted!
    Benny & Lily

  6. What a super fun place! it reminds me of my favorite parks in AK

    Stop on by for a visit

  7. So glad to hear that Bradie's family is going to give it another go with him! I am sure with your help, they will be in a much better position to work things out!

    That park looks like so much fun - a pooch paradise!

  8. This place sounds wonderful! So glad that Bradie's family is sticking with him :)


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