Two contrasting walks this weekend, the first an interesting one with my sister and her beautiful new rescue, German Shepherd Autumn ...
Autumn is settling into her new home with Fiona well, but finding meeting new dogs a bit scary at the moment, so to try and help her overcome her anxiety, we met at a quiet open spot in our local parkland to work on walking our girls at a distance on leads, with the intention of gradually reducing the space between them if Autumn became able to tolerate closer proximity.
We let the dogs tell us what distance they felt able to cope with and it did take a while before Autumn started to let her guard down, but with plenty of encouragement and several training breaks along our way round the perimeter of the park, gradually the distance between Polly and Autumn began to reduce quite naturally.
And eventually, after about four miles of careful trekking through the mud at an ever decreasing distance, both dogs were at last able to give one another a brief and calm doggy sniff of welcome! Once that had been taken care of, it didn't take too much longer before we noticed Autumn allowing Polly to walk respectfully alongside her. We were delighted when eventually Fo was able to give both dogs a mutual 'sit/stay/down' mini training session and I even managed to snap a couple of discreet pics to celebrate the moment, while Autumn wasn't looking. Hopefully with a few more walks like this, Autumn will begin to relax and not worry quite so much about meeting other dogs on her walks. It was hard work, but a good exercise for both dogs and we are hopeful our girls might be able to cement their budding friendship more fully one day ... fingers crossed!
Saturday's restrained training walk with Autumn was a big ask for Polly and I was very proud of how well my sociable girl coped, especially as she couldn't launch herself towards Auntie Fo to say hello as normal ... and she really, really loves Auntie Fo!
So on Sunday, I decided to take Poll up to the top of Bluebell Hill to walk through the woods and across fields to the ancient megalith 'Kits Coty House', to let off her doggy steam ...
She ran across the fields, sniffed here there and everywhere, found sticks to carry and generally had a lovely busy time ... I loved seeing her having so much fun!
Well done Polly, you've done yourself proud this weekend.