Saturday, we had a GREAT Canine Outward Bound half day. First, we got Phin- A SUPER high energy 6 month old female herding dog mix. Inexhaustible is a good description. Because her energy is so high, her owners have a difficult time getting her out as much as they’d like. And while not dangerous in any way…… She is a handful! Then we added Graf. A very timid 1.5 year old Schnauzer. Great dog, just VERY shy. No confidence. Scared, but extremely loving. Both are described by their owners as tense, or nervous around other dogs. Phin has no people issues. Graf was described as not aggressive, but not very trusting.
So…. Today’s adventure was geared towards not just physical exercise, but getting them comfortable around strange dogs, people, and situations. We started with a few short individual walks with each pup. Then they were walked together but on separate sides to allow them time to acclimate to the other dogs presence, and see that we’re running the show and the other dog is no threat. Pretty soon we have them walking together on the same side. Awesome. Goal one down.
Their comfort level told us it was time to hit the trail so we headed out on the Riverton Trolly Trail, on the Portland Trail System. It’s a great trail with tons of staircases, and bridges, and crazy castle looking rock walls.
Lots of stuff to challenge these pups environmental issues. They did awesome!!!!
Got along great. Handled every challenge with growing confidence. And, Graf even started to let some of his personality out.
Next we went indoors. Today we worked inside at The Academy, a martial arts school in Portland (we happen to own it, conveniently). This gives us room to work and play around a lot of distractions and challenging obstacles.
We did Agility with these guys for a while. Now I don’t mean jumping over crap randomly. I mean, finding things that are a little intimidating, and then getting them through their fear. We also use this to reinforce the relationship. As in we go over this thing because I say we do, AND, you don’t get down until you’re dismissed.
Just like people, when they face fears and come out the other side….. they develop confidence!
And that’s exactly what happened. This obstacle that was so intimidating in the beginning, just became this neat thing to play on and around when they earned some free time.
Oh yeah, did I mention that these two now play freely with each other and us. Full of confidence. Zero timidity!
After a little free time, we ended the night with one last challenge….
Now Phin is a treadmill pro, as her owners had taken my advice already and worked on that with her.
But Graf…… For Graf, this was the crowning moment.
All the work we put in earlier really paid off! After just the slightest hesitation, he was on it and running. He’s a new little man.
He even jumped on it later and looked at me like “Ok, lets do it again!”.
Since it was only a half day session it was already time to let these guys go back home.
New dog friends. New people friends. And a new confidence that comes with conquering new experiences!
And did we mention tired?
Like what you see…. Book your dogs Canine Outward Bound Adventure today!