My kitchen was stomach churningly revolting when I opened the door to say hello to Polly this morning. Note to self: no more of those nasty bones in heat sealed wrap from the pet shop in future! Urgh!
After a thorough clean-up, I decided it would be safer for Poll's tummy if we cancelled our planned woodland romp with Molly and Dudley (which had the potential for my stinky miss to have her nose into all kinds of unmentionable 'treats' whilst running loose with her pals) in favour of a more sedate 'on lead' stroll through the park instead.
It was an absolutely beautiful morning and very peaceful, but there were plenty of other dogs out and about, so I took the opportunity to do some clicker training with Polly and was very pleased to see her concentrate more on our clicking/treating and less on approaching dogs.
Polly has a tendency to sometimes sink to her belly when dogs approach in what I am sure she considers 'stressful surroundings' and she may pop back up and lunge at them if they approach too suddenly - this can make our walk very intermittent and is frustrating, so I've been deliberately taking her to places where she has to pass other dogs on paths, then encouraging her forward each time with a firm 'let's go'. If she sinks down to her tummy, I've been starting again by asking her to move forward with me and the second she shows interest in doing so, clicking and treating and I am happy to say, even though we met dogs of all shapes, sizes and energy levels today, we had absolutely no belly flops and even better still, with a little carefully timed encouragement, Polly stayed by my side each time and kept walking! Yay!!!
I have loved walking round the lake in Mote Park both on my own and with my family during the past forty years, but walking in such a popular park with a young dog puts a very different perspective on things. There are many dogs roaming freely, some behaving well, some less so and each one is a huge temptation to my friendly pup, not to mention the lure of the lake! Of course, I would love to be able to allow Polly her freedom off lead here too, but even though her recall is good, I still don't yet feel sufficiently confident she would cope well with the many distractions such freedom would involve at this particular place. Hopefully we will ultimately achieve the level of recall and control I was talking about in my previous post and will then be able to enjoy our lovely local park more fully together ... definitely a goal to aim for!