Thursday, August 27, 2015

Viva's first Seattle adventure

Earlier this year, a friend had told me about the Chief Sealth Trail and so I checked it out.  I was less than impressed. In my opinion it a boring trail with very little environmental simulation.   I appreciate that the city created this trail in  an otherwise unused land but, it was just not interesting and I didn't see myself spending any time on the trail.

Then Viva came to us and I knew this would be a great place to start walking with her.

So why is this a great trail for Viva?  She's very reactive on leash - reactive to dogs and other moving things that she anticipates may come to close.  Viva's reactivity is a behavior, based on fear and her needing the thing to go away.  This doesn't make Viva a "bad" dog, she just needs help learning new skill to create different behavior while reducing her fear and changing her emotional state during this time.  Here is a good starting article to read if you are unfamiliar with leash reactivity and how to begin working on it with positive training methods

Before we can even begin to work on the reactive behavior, we need to walk together in a low stress environment.  We still are getting to know each other so it's still important for me to manage the environment to the best of my ability.  This also gives me more opportunity to observe Viva on leash in the outside environment.

While this trail is boring to me, it has amazing sight lines and it's not boring for Viva.  Sight lines are important as they give me lots of opportunity to see what is coming and to prepare for how work with Viva as it arrives.   You will see the wide the strip under the power lines. So, if a dog, person or whatever else is coming, we can move far to the right or left giving Viva distance from what is causing her to react.

This trail is 4 miles long and we give it a go.

While I can see a lot - Viva can smell a lot which is fantastic for her brain.

The trail runs under a series of power line towers

I have her on the long line so she has lots of freedom to explore.  I do have my "working bag" with me. This includes high value food reinforcers, a standard 6ft nylon leash and poop bags.  

Viva is one that pays a lot of attention to her environment

There are some random P-Patches along the way

Again, amazing sight lines and if a dog is come there's ample space to move and give lots of space

No one coming our way!

Time to stop and smell who's been here

Off we go and Viva was having a grand time

So much to smell and explore

Time to start heading back and you can see the trail is pretty much all the same for the whole 4 miles.

This trail connects up to Kubota Garden so, that will be an adventure in our future!

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