Yesterday we took a long walk to the “horse forest”. First we came to a horse farm where we met two riders. One of the horses was a heavy, large, all black horse similar to a Clydesdale. The rider seemed thankful that we stepped off to the side so they could pass. She said her huge beauty was afraid of people in the woods. It gave us some uneasy looks as it carefully walked passed us. Bella and Kaktus have finally understood that horses are nothing to get worked up over. We have been careful to keep them at a distance where they are calm and then we have gradually gone closer. When we accidentally meet them on the roads we step to the side and give them wonderful treats while they walk by.
Then we walked into a huge “Lost Forest”. The big area has been chopped but it has nice tractor roads to walk on. When we turned a corner we suddenly stood face to face with a deer. It was maybe 4-5meters in front of us. We all stopped breathing for a moment until the deer was the first to react and ran into the forest. Both Bella and Kaktus instantly went after it, but they were stopped by their longlines. Kaktus got into a real tangle in between the trees and was quite stressed but surprisingly not as bad as he has been earlier. I went up to him and he switched on to me and had great contact so I could lead him out of there calmly. When we got a little distance away he was nice and calm but I knew he still had some pent up stress in him that needed release. To let the dogs play was not an option. I know how they turn off all social skills when they need to vent so we walked to a place where there is a huge sand pile. Kaktus immediately stood on top of it digging out all frustration. And then he could relax properly.
I am really proud of him and the rest of the walk he was nice and calm. He has become a lot more confident and safe. The trips that him and I take alone have had a good effect on him. Not that long ago I worked hard on getting him to go explore on his own and not be attached to my leg seeking contact. On our trips alone I have mostly just tried to be in the background so he can explore and have as much feeling of freedom alone without me interfering. I just work on keeping the leash loose and follow him. When he stops I stop, when he changes direction I do. He is still very good at checking in but now I don’t have to reward him every time though I do praise him.
The rest of the day we just hung out in our garden. Bella tried to fry herself in the sun and I sometimes wondered if she knew when to quit. We also did a home alone training after the walk. I was curious to see how he would do after seeing the deer on our walk. Earlier he would have had trouble relaxing but now he did really well. His over all time was 4,5min so it was the same as the day before.
Today we had a quiet walk to the barn. Reidar was picking rasberries and I was just hanging out with the dogs while they were just doing what dogs do. They did get some nice runs in the field so they could burn some energy and then they just enjoyed the sun, ate grass and relaxed. It’s good to have a quiet day like this after some exitment the previous days. When it’s raining and they don’t want to leave the house we drive up to the barn. Me and Reidar pick berries and the dogs sit in the car with the door open smelling the passing winds. Then I make a treat search for them in the barn and they shoot out like rockets when I call them. They enjoy their search and then they run back into the car until I have something else exiting to offer and it’s the same again. They enjoy sitting safely in the car where it’s dry but they can still have a bit of the outdoor smells and sights.
Bella crashed with a dandelion 🙂The berry picker