It’s been two weeks since I wrote and published my last post, The Two Minute Walk to Disneyland, Part One. Although we haven’t ventured to the park every single day, Rock has made great progress and is feeling more confident and tolerant of varied activities and surroundings. We have walked to the park, which includes the scary, noisy overpass 4 or 5 times since my last post.
I went from carrying him across the overpass, to us running across it, to today’s progression of, Rock choosing to walk instead of run. He walked quickly, but slow enough so that I could walk and his leash remained loose. We got about half way across the overpass and he decided it was time to run.
Rock loves to watch the world around him. He also likes to smell it! While the park is a bit overwhelming and perhaps not a completely carefree experience or playground, like Disneyland is to a human child, it is interesting, fascinating and mentally stimulating to Rock. After about an hour at the park, which included sniffing like an experienced retriever and running free in the in the fenced in area, Rock walked calmly and in a relaxed manner back across the overpass. If you have a reactive dog or one who gets into “mischief” or an incessant barker, or any dog with exuberant energy, get them out of the house! Introduce them to new experiences. Our park field trips, definitely provide great physical exercise, but also, tons of mental stimulation. This combination is fatiguing, as well as fulfilling. Rock is a more relaxed dog after both outlets for his energy. Even physicists and scientists agree that everything is energy! That includes enthusiasm and joy, as well as stress, anxiety and fear.
Some wonderful responses to note include, Rock’s choices today to walk all the way around the fenced skateboarders’ area at the park without barking, lunging or in any other way showing signs of stress or reactivity. He chose to stand and watch the action a few times, but mostly walked around sniffing and accompanying me on a stroll. There were a few key times I rewarded and or distracted him with treats. I gave him a few food rewards while he walked calmly next to the noisy skateboard area, as well as when a jogger or walker passed right by us. He impressively, did not lunge, bark or react. Although there was one woman who walked by that he wanted to chase. He didn’t bark or even lunge at her. After she passed, he just really wanted to chase her! We went in another direction and he was fine with that choice after a few moments.
For the amount of time we spent at the park, I really didn’t give a lot of treat rewards. I didn’t have to. His time sniffing and exploring was reward enough, not quite Disneyland, but perhaps more like a day at Cub Scout’s or Boy Scout’s camp. Interesting and educational and experiences that built confidence and maturity with some fun thrown in.
Well… I am going to have to have at least one more part to this story! So much more to tell, but I want to cuddle up with my Rock and go to sleep.
If you want help with your dog, whether reactive, shy or just in need of some education, call me at 619-797-0705. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And… Happy New Year to you and yours! Wishing you the courage to confront yourself, to not only help yourself, but also your companion animals.
I will be in Yuma, Arizona on January 16 and January 17. If you would like an in-person animal communication reading, positive reinforcement training session or nutrition and holistic pet care consultation, let me know! Secure your spot by calling me at 619-797-0705 or emailing email@example.com.