Each week I find that I learn something new about my dog or myself. We also offer a walk on Wednesdays for anyone who can make it and last week I brought Ray. He knew he was going for a walk and was pretty excited but when we pulled up to the meeting spot and I got him out of the van, he immediately barked at the other members and as I looked at him I noticed a piloerection. (Yeah, I couldn’t resist). I never have to use much equipment with him anymore but decided he might need not only his Thundershirt but also his Freedom harness. I doubted it but I decided not to be caught with less equipment than needed again. I loaded him back up and got his gear on and we had a wonderful time.
My learning is that he was undoubtedly not expecting to exit the van and see so many dogs nearby and was a bit startled. My learning is to ease him into the crowd rather than just spill him out to the sidewalk without a buffer.
This post, however is about another member who has been making huge strides in the last three weeks. Ray’s littermate, Dahey, has been joining the walks with his very talented mama and he has definitely been blossoming on these walks.
When I first spoke with his mama about joining us, she was worried that it might be too overwhelming, but when assured that we are a no contact group, they joined. For their first week, Dahey was visibly nervous despite looking dapper in his well-fitting Thundershirt, but very good in the pack. It was he and his mama who ended up coming back to keep me and Juli company during our walk of shame. Last week as they fell in behind us, I turned to spy Dahey with a huge smile on his face and some relaxed body posture. After the walk, he and his mama sauntered past several of us and after he was in a sit at a safe distance, we lobbed tasty morsels of treats at him. What a brave boy.
This week? This week Dahey took treats from two of us. Took treats from our hand! The great thing about a pack walk is the sharing and support one gains from the group. Yeah, we’ve had a rough week before and after nearly every walk I come away thinking about something I can improve on, but man, having a place where we can discover things and work on them is priceless. For a walking team who had doubts about participating and after only three weeks is taking treats from people? Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about.
Go Bully Collective.