This morning RIot and I headed out to Purecellville for a Hounds on the Town class. Today’s class was a short hike to practice heeling followed by some time off leash (or on long lines) for swimming.
I didn’t let Riot off leash before we went on the hike. There were some dogs that were already swimming on roaming around off leash when we got there. The whole scene was very exciting and stimulating for Riot. We practiced sit-stays and down-stays while waiting for the hike to start. Admittedly with all of the distractions, this was very hard for Riot. He did really well other that needing a few reminders of which position he was supposed to be in. He was approached by 5 or 6 dogs and did very well letting them sniff him. One did growl at him and Riot just kind of looked at him like “what’s your problem?”
The hike was fairly short as it was already quite hot. I made Riot walk at a heel on the flat sections of the hike, but on the hills I let him have more freedom and just walk on a loose leash. He did really well. This was probably more of a challenge than he was ready for with so many dogs as distractions, but he did well.
The heeling I made him do was not the formal obedience heeling, but just walking by my side (as would be acceptable for field or just normal walking). I’ve been distinguishing the difference by my arm position. Arms down at my sides is casual heeling, arm in front of me is obedience heeling. He did have him heel about 20-30 feet formally which he switched to very nicely. The walk was too long and too hot to ask him for that the entire way.
After we got back from the hike, the dogs hit the pond. Riot enjoyed swimming and even retrieved a couple of bumpers before a border collie took his bumper away while he was showing another dog how to jump in. We never did get our bumper back :(
There were approx. 40 dogs around and Riot went and visited nearly all of them. He was very polite and well mannered and it was nice seeing him interacting with dogs in such a casual environment. There was one border collie that he just couldn’t get enough of. She was a younger girl and I’m not sure if she was spayed or not.
I finally had to go and get him to leave this poor girl alone. I put him on a sit-stay while her owner was putting her into another yard that was fenced off. I released him right as the gate was being closed and he made a beeline and got there right as someone was opening it snuck in. That was the only time all day he did not listen to me. I went in after him and made him down before he got a walk of shame out of the yard. Other than that one incident, he listened to me incredibly well despite all the distractions. I was able to call him to me whenever/wherever and even put him on stays with all the chaos.
He’s so funny. There was a shepherd that was barking at everything and he just stopped and looked at him with the quizzical look on his face like “why are you doing that?”
After all this excitement it was back to work. We went and met Leslie for our very first force fetch session. Riot worked really well for her and I’ve got my homework to work on with him. Fingers crossed this goes well.