Fun While Learning, a Hike with my Friends
Duration: 5 Weeks Cost: $145
Location: Revolving, new each week.
Dates: 9/30/18 to 10/28/18
Class duration: Approximately 1.5 hours
If you are interested in an upcoming class please send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
Walking your dog should be a pleasurable experience for both our pups and us. However, we all know that sometimes that isn’t the case. Our dogs often worry about, and over-react to, new dogs or people, squirrels, bicycles, kids, etc. while we worry about their reactions and behavior. This class will teach you and your dog how to better work together towards a successful, non-stressful walk. Each week we will meet in a different place; at first it will be in places with little traffic from dogs and people to enhance basic skills and let everyone get to know each other, dogs and people. As we progress, we will move to places with more human and dog traffic to up the pressure and distractions with the goal to be able to walk anywhere and have a good experience. As always, practicing between classes in places where you can challenge your dog but keep them under threshold will make all the difference.
Collaborative Walking: There are many benefits to collaborate walking. A collaborative walk is when you and your dog walk together with another person and their dog, or even multiple people and dogs. It is one of my favorite ways to help build confidence in the handler and dog. It works to overcome behavioral issues while having fun and bonding with your dog. Specific examples of what a collaborative walk can do for our pups are listed below.
Behavioral Benefits: (in addition to having fun and bonding with your dog)
Shy Dogs – Build confidence and trust of new people, dogs and locations. By keeping the first two variables consistent for the 5 weeks, dogs and people, your pup will learn to be more confident and trusting of new things.
Reactive Dogs – Learn to feel good around other dogs and people. My dog is highly reinforced with super yummy food for calmly looking at, and interacting with, any new stimuli (including dogs, people. environmental distractions, etc.). Dogs realize that other dogs are not always a danger (I now think and evaluate) and new people are fun; good things happen when other dogs or people are around. Conditioned behavior happens, I feel good where I used to feel worried. They can also model more neutral dogs, which cannot be overstated.
Confident Dogs – Have new experiences, meet new friends, and take behaviors like recall to a whole new level. Help my more worried friends feel better, that makes me and my person feel good.
Our “Exuberant” Friends – We all know I’m talking about my dog Olive… Dogs learn that remaining calm and connected to their person in the face of a myriad of distractions is worthwhile, food falls from the sky!!!!!
Week 1: Loose Leash Walking – we will start in a fairly quiet, low traffic area. Somewhere we can have space and everyone can just learn to be comfortable with each other. We will start with a standard 6 ft. leash and practice the skills that lead to the end of your pup pulling on their leash (yes it's possible!!!). Dogs smell things in the environment more that we do, so some of the skills involve allowing them to explore, but doing so when you say it is ok. We will learn and use "Look at That" (LAT), which is desensitization (I’ve seen 20 squirrels and not been able to catch one) and Counter-Conditioning (every time I saw a squirrel and looked at my person I got a super yummy treat. Therefore when I remain calm and look at my person really good things happen). Once this behavior (LAT) is conditioned, when your pup sees, smells, or hears something new, you can use it to get their attention back onto you. LAT interrupts an over-reaction.
Location: Behind Doodlebugs in Victor, it’s a Sunday so you can park there. We’ll meet in the empty parking lot right next door. For GPS use 7383 Route 96, Victor, NY 14564. It is a pretty location with very little foot traffic. We want the first hike to be a quiet one so that everyone has a chance to get to know each other, dogs and people.
Week 2: Recall #1 – Again, in a low traffic area, we would suggest using a long leash, I use a 30 ft. leash. We will allow the pups to earn increased distance with the longer lead by coming when called at a shorter distance. Practice come, letting them explore and get distracted and then call them away, rewarding when they return. Repeating that exercise gives your pup confidence to explore their surroundings, and builds your trust that when you call them, they will come back no matter what.
Location: Corbett’s Glen off of Penfield Road. 415 Penfield Road, Rochester, NY 14625.
Week 3: Recall #2 – In a similar higher traffic location we will use the longer leashes to work on Come When Called. Depending upon your experience you can allow your pup to get to a distance you are comfortable with while practicing recall when there are distractions. Our goal is to both allow some walking freedom to your pup and also give you the confidence when you call they will come back to you.
Location: Ganondagan State Historic Site. Ganondagan is a 2.3 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located in the Victor/Farmington area.
Week 4: We’ve had lots of practice on hiking trails with wildlife the primary environmental distraction. Now we take our skills to a completely different place with very different distractions and work on generalization, which is helping our dog learn to work hard and walk politely any place you take them.
Location: Park Ave area for more of a “City” walk. We will park in the lot next to the 7-11. 622 Park Ave, Rochester, NY 14607.
Week 5: Putting it all together – A walk in a high traffic location; think Schoen Place in Pittsford. 6-foot leash, walking on the canal, (and maybe getting some ice cream) while having the confidence that your pup can see new sights, sounds, and smells, while still being able to maintain their focus upon you.
Location: Schoen Place. I like to meet across the street behind the Delmonte (you would turn in as if you were going to the hotel. Its behind the building by the Erie Grill. Park there and we’ll meet right at the canal next to the benches (you’ll see them when you get there).
The ultimate goal is to get to a place where you feel you can take your dog anywhere and have them feel safe, and where you feel confident secure that no matter the situation.