The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure – Joseph Campbell
New adventures can be a little challenging with Porter. It takes a lot to Pilot him and make him focus. However, this doesn’t stop me from taking him to experience new things. If it did, he’d never get better at new situations. I’m just careful in when and where I decide to go. Because let’s be honest, adventures are way more fun with your pup.
The other day, we took Porter to the dog beach. Now, since we know he can be a total jerk in new situations (and by jerk I mean he just gets way too overexcited), there are some precautions we take before bringing him somewhere new:
- Walk him before. We made sure that he got some exercise before getting in the car to go to the beach. It drains out some excess energy and gets him in the mentality that he must pay attention.
- We go to these new places when it’s not amateur hour. We chose to go to the dog beach on a week day and in the morning. There’s a lesser chance for people out there for sure. If you don’t have any days off to spare, trying going early in the morning on the weekends. Unless it’s a farmer’s market, you’ll be sure to hit less people anywhere you’re planning on going.
- The walk to whatever location that we’re going must be a good walk. I am much stricter when we are walking towards a new location. Here are some walking tips. If it takes me 15 minutes to do a normal 5 minute walk, then so be it. In the long run, it’ll help your dog focus on you and be in a more calm state of mind.
- I act calm and collected. I enjoy nothing more than the beach (even if it is on a lake). I am the most relaxed when I’m by a body of water. This worked in my advantage on our beach adventure. Since the water calms and relaxes me, I portray that energy to Porter. It’s no big deal that we’re there. My energy isn’t excitable so he feels there’s nothing to be excited about either. So find your “beach” mentality when you’re taking your dog somewhere new.
- Try and seek out an area at the new adventure location where you and your dog can regroup. Find an area where there are less people, dogs, distractions so you can regain your dog’s focus. Even if it’s just for a few seconds, every little bit will help.
- Always pay attention and know when it’s time to leave. In our case, our fun beach adventure was interrupted by 3 large dogs running down the stairs with no leashes or owners in sight. There was lots of barking and commotion which only brings Porter’s energy level up. That’s when I knew it was time to leave. There was no one Piloting those dogs, so it’s in my best interest to remove mine from that situation. There are times and places to accept challenges, however, if you’re feeling frustrated, tired, or feel like this is too much for your dog to handle, then it’s time to leave.
Don’t let the fact that you have a reactive dog stop you from going on adventures. Just be aware of your dog’s limitations and take some precautions to ensure that it will be a success. You got a dog so you could share the world with them, so make sure you’re doing it!
Darwin Dogs, LLC
Dog Training in Cleveland, OH