After dog classes in the city, we came back in the afternoon in time to go adventuring...we found a couple new spots along the estuary :)
I play a few games with them to keep me in the picture of being interesting. That and we took a really cool recall class at Dogsmart where we had to recall past distractions like other dogs, hotdogs, squirrels and ducks for our final exam...which we did with flying colours.
I walk them on and off leash in the woods to ensure I have both options with them. Some hikes in provincial parks are on leash only so I want to make sure we can hike on lead as well.
Games we play while out in nature:
1-hide n seek games, hide behind something or
2-if I'm walking with a friend I'll get them to hide then scare them, or I will jump out and scare them (then treats and laughs...) so in my mind they don't totally freak out if another hiker is in the woods. Keegan did last year. A hiker with a big landing pad on his back, sunglasses and a hat. He had never seen that sort of get up on someone before...so it's only natural that he barked. We found more of those and did some counterconditioning so it's all good now.
Good news is that they have learned to keep their eyes on me, and check in every couple minutes. It also helps that Daizy n George stick close by. They were on long lines for the first 2yrs, working near dogparks...then a reward would be walking through a dog park, then more fun stuff with me. Keegan being a herding dog, his natural instinct is to keep everyone together, so far I've been lucky with him and we only did a few months of long line dragging.
2-When they're doing their own stuff.....I'll also start acting really excited and moving the grass around as if I've found something really stinky.... and I'll put a kongs around the area or disperse a handful of treats (dried fish, chicken...cheese) for them to come racing over to see what all the fuss is about
3-playing ball or tug helps tons too. Plus teaching them to "dig" on cue is fun too...if I spot a hole, or mound of loose dirt, I'll act excited, then they'll come running and I'll say "dig"...just something fun. Sometimes putting a cookie under the dirt is fun too, they'll dig and then sniff out a treat :)
4- or racing around in the opposite direction or right past them and climbing up a tree or on a log...something interesting...or walking in the water
So far I haven't had to look for my guys. I think being a part of their adventure really does help with them WANTING to keep an eye on me.
The only time of year I have a challenge is during Salmon run...where all the carcasses are littered along the shore.
I've been letting a long kitty leash I think it's about 10ft ( $7.99) from the supermarket drag behind George, and I think I'll grab one for Daizy too. They have bells on their harnesses just incase they run into trouble, or the idea is while they're racing around hopefully it'll make enough noise to move the local wildlife out of their way.
The drag line is thin, and doesn't seem to get caught and is there for my peace of mind incase a coyote tries to lure them away...the thought is that if it's dragging I'll be able to drag them away from danger. It's all in my mind I know.
I don't worry about Keegan as much as they seem to pick on the small dogs around here.
I've given up with trying to control an off leash dog situation. With this last train and play, I have no idea why...but dogs are magnetically attracted to George...even if he doesn't want to have anything to do with him.
On our adventure yesterday, out of no where a Min Pin came charging at George, no owner in tow...and I just let him handle it. Thankfully the Min Pin backed down, raised a paw and they both had a sniff, the on their separate ways. The people apologized, and walked by without putting a lead on their dog...
Even in yesterday's morning Train and Play class we did leash work and a couple dogs were let off leash to do as they please...just as in real life. They just swarmed George, ignored all other dogs in the class... and he did give the ones who were pushing their limits an ear full. Those who didn't George was happy to just walk away. So I learned something very important...
He does have a good doggy language repertoire, and sometimes it involves telling another dog to back off they're smothering him.
I have just got to learn to pray that the other dog has good bite inhibition, that or pick George up if I'm in range.
I'm going to try using DAP spray on a bandana around his neck to see if it takes the edge off George and or changes the way he smells to other dogs so maybe it will change their meet n greet style...who knows...
I can't shelter or protect George all the time, I've got to trust that all the work we've done and steps we've taken will carry him into old age.
People aren't going to change, their dogs who like physical meet n greets aren't going to change...and most importantly, I can't worry about things I have no control over.