Saturday, November 28, 2015

A pit stop before our big adventure

We have lovely weather right now! No rain, blue skies and a crisp temperature.  Most of our outings are within a 10 mile drive of our house.  However, I have a place I want to check out so we decide to take the longer road trip with D'light and Viva.  Catty stays home as traveling does still cause her some stress so we usually just save the driving for nose work outings.  Catty is just as happy to explore the parks we can walk to!
Before we head out we have to stop off at Brett's work.  While he does some work I take the dogs out to explore Pier 70. 
D'light knows this location well!
"Are we going inside with dad?"

"Nope so, I'll check out the smells I've missed!"

There were a lot of birds to watch

The pier is great as it's fenced.  So, I took off D'light's leash.

The space needle and sculpture park in the background

As D'light watches the birds...

I notice all the snow on the Olympic mountains

He wanders around and has a nice relaxing time sniffing and sniffing.

Viva's turn!

Lots and lots to smell

"I'd like to get those birds in the water"

"Can we please get the birds?"

We head to end point of the pier and Viva wasn't real sure about this environmental set up

Her tail is telling me a lot - again she's not real sure about the pier as it does move and I'm guessing she can feel that.

She moves on and while she's a bit unsure she's interested in the smells on the pier

In new environments it's important to watch your dog's body language and make some decisions about what to do if they are showing stress signs.  Sometimes the dog can adjust and move through the stress and other times that's not the case.  So you may have to just leave if the environment is too stressful and that's ok.  We all need to support what our dog needs - we owe that to each of them.  As I watched Viva, she was able to sniff, watch what was going on around her and then the birds caught her attention again which helped her to move forward with further exploring the pier. 
Here is a wonderful blog post by Maureen Backman, MS, CTC, PCT-A:
Maureen's blog is amazing and her facebook page Mutt About Town is also an excellent resource

Seagulls fly over us and she's thinking about how to get them

"You birds wanna play?"

Lots of stuff to sniff on the ground

Lovely view of the Olympic Sculpture Park from the pier

Viva watching all the stuff in the environment and it's time to get going to our destination!

A final quote from this excellent blog post  PPG Summit Reflections Day 1: Redefining Force-Free by Maureen:
she emphasized the need to allow dogs to “collect data” about whether an environment is safe or dangerous, and to let dogs collect that data at their own pace.  The neurochemical processes involved in fear and anxiety inhibit learning, and affect a dog’s overall cognitive performance. When dealing with these dogs, anxious dogs, she discussed how trainers can give dogs coping skills to help them process information, communicate their decisions (and make decisions), and slow down a dog’s rate of reacting. In short, teaching dogs how to relax.
Today’s presentations emphasized the great responsibility that comes with living and working with animals. In the words of Overall: “Doing better and treating dogs humanely, and the relationship between dogs and humans with respect, is simply a choice.
Exercise it.”


  1. Love the new resource information, including the information about muzzle training on Maureen's website. I think we need to do some more research on that...

    Hopefully the sun will stick around to make your adventures easier!

    1. Maureen's information it wonderful - I think she is beyond amazing. I recently purchased her DVD "Less Reactive, More Responsive - a mindful approach to behavioral modification. I'll be watching it soon and sharing my thoughts. Regarding muzzle training, that's important. I'll be talking about that and linking back to the muzzle training Catty I have done in a coming post so stay tuned.