We decided that we would try out a dog walking group as a way to add to Athena's socialization and to work on some of her behaviors that we would like to curb (leash reactivity, crazy play when meeting new dogs, fear of new experiences, etc.). So, yesterday we met up with the Portland Pit Bull Parade at Westmoreland Park in SE Portland for a walk and a picnic.
Gentle Leader head collar. But, this apparatus apparently doesn't work as well when surrounded by a large pack of dogs! B and I now sympathize with those who deal with leash pullers on a daily basis. Wow is that a workout!
|I stick my tongue out to having to walk politely!|
|The little puller in action|
Following the walk was a Bully Walkers appreciation picnic. During this time we met even more amazing pit bull owners and their dogs. Athena got to meet quite a few dogs (most everyone enforced the "no face-to-face" greeting rule) and she didn't show any aggression towards any of them (we had her wear a "dog reactive" red bandana during the parade just in case).
As we have mentioned before, when Athena meets a new dog she thinks it's play time. So, every dog that she met (or even got close to) during the parade she wanted to initiate play with them. Everyone laughed and reminisced about their dog's puppy years and their desire to always play. These interactions were what had me thinking about Our Waldo Bungie's comment on our original post about dog walking groups: "My favorite thing about being a part of a dog walking group is that you are able to work on your dogs' less-than-stellar behaviors in a safe environment, where you won't be judged by your fellow walkers." We weren't judged for Athena's desire to play with every dog that she met, nor were we judged as owners for not yet having a handle on this behavior. Even during the embarrassing moment when Athena started play mode and her leash slipped out of B's hand leaving her running around in circles around a group of a couple dogs and their owners, we were not judged. Instead, someone quickly grabbed Athena's leash and everyone laughed off the incident.
|Getting a bit of training in with distractions|