Let’s be straight here, my dog is reactive and he is hard to calm down. We were out in a Bay last night hoping it would be quiet enough to cool off in the ocean. Luke gets pretty darn hot under all that fur and it’s so hard in the hot weather to find a place he too can cool down at. Luck was on our side and it was pretty calm when we were out. He’s recovering right now from a paw injury (hence the socked leg in my last post). Have I mentioned he has a swim suit? He has a collar and lead for the beach, I call it his swim suit. He wanted in the water so we swapped out and I took the chance that we have been improving enough that I can let him have some space.
He was off and in the water in no time. We saw a heron on a rock and he tried his best to sneak up on it. It didn’t work, that heron saw him coming and was out of there!
The nights that allow for space and freedom are pretty special. We hung out for quite a while. There was a family with a small child and baby at one end and a random guy at the complete opposite end of the beach leaving us plenty of space in the middle. The water was still fairly shallow as the tide is lower this time of year and he didn’t outright swim but he did walk out after his stick until he got tired of fetching it and settled in for a good wood chipping. Luke thinks he’s a woodchuck sometimes.
We had been down at the beach for maybe an hour when a small dog started barking. This got Luke’s attention. I figure it was coming from a boat or across the water. Sound carries on water and after whipping around looking for the culprit and seeing nothing anywhere I decided it was safe enough to see if he could drop his vigilance with a command.
This would not have worked if that dog had been on the beach, this also would not have worked a year ago, it’s hard enough in the yard to grab his attention when he’s on guard. I’m proud of the work we’ve done. We have both come a long way in the last year. We’ve practiced recall with his whistle, we can walk on a leash without him freaking out so bad he pulls me over. We have good gear that works for both of us and we are working on the intensity of his vocalisation when he triggers. It’s not perfect but it is so much better than where it had gotten to.