Friday, May 1, 2009

Adventures with woods walks

The wet weather has set back into central Indiana. Yuck! I wasn't ready for 85 degrees, but I didn't want rain with my 60s and 70s either. The only good thing is wet weather keeps people out of the park so we can do woods walks. 

Page has been on a woods walk about every other day since she came home. What I find interesting is that as bold as she is, she rarely ventures out in front of me during the woods walks. Devon, who is a snuggler and a Mommy's girl, was always out in front and fairly easy to lose at first. I'm barely able to slip behind a tree once a walk with Page.

When I asked Gayle if I should just take Page on a woods walk or sometimes include Devon, she suggested that Devon could come once a week. So on Wednesday, both girls got to head into the woods. I selected a part of our metropark (which requires the dogs to be on leash at all times), that is difficult to get through once the foliage is completely out. Right now, it's not a bad walk at all. Since it was raining off and on, we didn't have any company.

Page relied on Devon to chart the path and for the first time Page got out in front of me by following Devon. Once, Devon and I both slipped her when we didn't even mean to. I thought she was behind me and when I turned I saw she was running back and forth several yards behind us perpendicular to where we'd gone looking for us. I let her panic for a few seconds and search, but I could tell by her search pattern she wouldn't find us. When I knew she was good and worried, I gave a soft, "pup, pup" and she came running! That was the last time she lost us, and I could tell it made a big impact.

Today, I just took Page walking. I was pleased to see the park was pretty empty, so I selected a much longer woods walk. Today was also the first day that Page did move in front of me and beside me to explore on her own. I was only able to get her once by stepping behind a tree.

Page had a ball splashing through some small streams. This girl loves the water and seeks it out! We got quite deep into this woods, spending 25-30 minutes walking through it. I decided to take the paths most of the way on our return to the SUV. Page walked down a wooden walkway and stairs with no risers and spacing between the boards including the bridge over the creek. I was very impressed with how comfortable and confident she was with this.

Today's other success was on the path. All the other times we've been on a path, Page takes off at a run ahead of me and never checking back in. On Monday we worked on this at another park, and after several times of me hiding, she got the idea to watch me on paths, too. Today, she was so mindful of me I was never able to slip away from her. She'd trot forward and every few feet she'd turn and check back in with me. What a good girl!

1 comment:

Kathy said...

I still hide on mine even though we've been hiking for years. I also do individual and group recalls sometimes (they've already been well patterned to keep tabs on where I am, so the recalls aren't eroding that skill).

I met someone on the path last week (their dog as on leash) and they wanted to know where I had gotten my dogs trained. They weren't even doing anything except paying attention to me as we walked by the other dog. It took me completely by surprise and I really didn't know what to say!