Monday, May 17, 2010

Weekend update -- 5K walk!

Saturday morning, I packed up the crew and we went to La Crosse to meet my parents for a 5K walk that my mom was doing with her Weight Watchers group. It wasn't an "official" event and I hoped that dogs would be welcome. As it turns out, I wasn't the only one with the idea to bring a dog or two (or three...), and several others arrived with dogs as well. And children. Lots and lots of children.

It was a good experience for Secret, although it did fry her brain just a bit. Several of the other dogs who came were, shall we say, unstable. Secret doesn't do well with unstable dogs and she was very reactionary towards them as we waited to get started. I used this as an opportunity to get her to focus on me, which worked well the majority of the time, but there were a couple of dogs she really didn't like.

The other issue was the children. Oh my, I didn't expect there to be so many. And of course, what do children want to do? Pet the puppy! And do you think the majority of the children asked if they could pet the puppy? Of course not! I had to be quite vigilant of watching our surroundings to make sure one of them didn't come up and grab her from behind.

Honestly, Secret started out incredibly well and even let a kid pet her. She started having problems when said kid started waving his hand around above her face. That's the point where she became uncomfortable and she did a little air snap at his hand. That was the end of her allowed interaction with children. These were just not dog-savvy kids and by far not a good socializing experience for her.

I had to keep her on a fairly short leash and keep my attention on the kids, because quite frequently one would dart closely past us and Secret would try to chase after it. Really, when you think of it, what are errant children but sheep who break away from the herd and need to be returned? It is no wonder that Border Collies have a reputation of nipping and herding children. They move like crazy little sheep.

Things improved ten-fold once we actually started walking. There was quite a bit of pulling on Secret's behalf, but she was no longer stressing over the other dogs or children among us. We started out at the back of the pack and very quickly moved to the side and ended up at the front. I know from experience that the dogs (and myself) do not do well being kept to a slow pace behind a crowd and they were much happier once we were able to stride out.

The dogs all handled the length of the 5K with ease. It was a gorgeous morning with temperatures around 70 degrees; about as perfect as one could hope for. Secret did better with the pulling as the walk went on and she began to settle. By the halfway point she was more or less walking nicely by my side.

We finished the walk in about 45 minutes and then let the dogs hang out in the shade under a tree with the bucket of water I'd brought along. They were all happily pooped and didn't seem to mind hanging out in the car with the water bucket & a fan while I went shopping at Kohl's afterwards. :o) In fact, the remainder of the day was quite quiet for all!

Yesterday was lawn mowing day -- Secret more or less just hung out on the deck and sunned herself. We didn't do very much else because I was gone a large portion of the day to my cousin's graduation. I attempted to play frisbee with her when I got home, but she was having none of it. She seemed happy to chase after tennis balls, though -- not bringing a single one back.... Secret has done so well with learning to retrieve the frisbees, but it does not seem to be transferring to tennis balls in the least. Oh well, I guess it gives me exercise, too.

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