Monday, August 15, 2011

Monday Fun Day: Maggie & Me

This morning, Maggie and I had us a little adventure.  First, we left the other two at home.

And Mom tried not to feel guilty at not bringing Sadie along.
We hopped in the car and headed to 1000 Acres Park in Troutdale.  Just west of the city, this park is, you guessed it, 1000 acres of mostly off-leash doggie heaven on the Columbia River.  I wanted to spend some quality time mano y perro with Maggie for a couple reasons: to spend some fun bonding time together and to work on her leash reactivity.  I have to confess that I haven't been that great at working on it since we got Hurley.

She was a rock star!  First, she had encounter #1 with another dog as I was letting her off her leash.  No reactivity at all!  They sniffed, romped a little and then we both went on our separate ways.  I let her run around off leash in a field for a little while to burn off some of her energy and practice her recall.



Next, we played with this awesome boiled wool tug toy (6 feet of tug fun!) and got some more of that energy out.  It was time to get back on the trail to the river and back on the leash. 

We quickly encountered dog #2, who was off leash while Maggie was on.  Sniff, sniff, tail wag and off we went down the trail.  Excuse me?  Did someone swap out my super leash reactive girl with a leash-friendly sweetie pie??  I have not seen her this relaxed on a leash around new dogs since she was a 6 month old pup! 

I did a couple things that I think helped her relax.  First,  I tethered her around my waist rather than holding the leash in my hand.  This really seems to help prevent any anxiety I feel when we see another dog from traveling down my arm to her.  Second, after the 1st 2 encounters, which I wasn't expecting, I had her sit, look at me and gave her a treat, or two, or three to help her focus on me and associate another dog approaching as a treat-worthy event.

It worked!  We approached two other dogs on our way down to and back from the river with zero reactivity.  A little raised hair was all I saw.  Tail was at half-staff and wagging friendly.  Face relaxed, ears back.  Woot!

Down at the river, we met a few other pooches, practiced sharing our balls with them and had a grand old time.


  1. Wow, isn't it so true: dogs can make complete liars outta ya!

    Mama-Daughter days are super special! Maybe Maggie was just vibing on having you all to herself. :)

    Gasp! And now that my girl has her recall to a whistle, we can finally go to this huuuge place that only existed in my dreams. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. I love it when they make liars out of me! I'd rather be a liar any day and have the chillaxed Maggie I saw today.