We have been partnering with one of the local trainers from Foothills, Cherie, for some Pack Walk training. We learn about walking in groups, and helps owners to control their dog as well as helps the dog learn to control the environment with other dogs.
We did a Q&A to help answer some questions about the Pack Walks! Our next Pack Walk is on March 10th, Saturday, at 10am. Please arrive and be ready by 9:45am. Location is Brookwood Park in Landrum. Across from the Lil Cricket & Ken Feagin Trucks.
Onto the Q&A:
1) Is there an age limit for the Pack Walks?
So far, only adults have shown up, but minors with parents are welcome. If a child 12 and up will be walking a dog, they must be able to pay attention to instructions and have control of the dog or a parent can hold a second leash attached to the dog.
2) What would one expect to learn on a Pack Walk?
I try to help people help their dogs be more comfortable in a group setting. Barkers and overly excited dogs are welcome. Owners of dogs that are people or dog aggressive or absolutely terrified would be better off scheduling a few one on one sessions with me before attempting a group walk. We want this to be a positive experience.
What we talk about varies depending on the individuals that show up. Most people show up at 9:45 and I often answer questions about basic training/behavior issues while we wait for the rest of the group. I observe how the walkers are interacting with their dogs and how the dogs are interacting with each other and other people and offer handling, management or positive reinforcement training suggestions. I may suggest a walking order where I feel the dogs will be most comfortable. I also look at collars, leashes and harnesses for safety and/or ease of handling and offer alternatives if necessary. *Retractable leashes are not really safe or functional for our walks. While we are walking, I move through the walkers getting to know people and their dogs and answering questions that come up. Dogs that do not have issues are also very welcome!
3) How long have you been training?
I hate to even say! I attended Moorpark College's Exotic Animal Training and Management Program when i was 17 and started training exotic animals professionally when I was 19 so almost 40 years! I have worked with just about any kind of animal you can think of. As far as domestic animals goes, most of my students are dogs, but I enjoy working with cats, parrots and horses too!
4) My dog is so skittish or unsure of himself, is there hope for me?
Of course! If your dog is just a little nervous in new situations, there are some simple techniques I can show you that will help. If your dog is so distressed that he can't focus at all or just stands there shaking, it might be best to start training in a quieter location where he's not over his training threshold. If you're not sure if your nervous dog is a good candidate for our walks, show up and we'll see! He may settle quickly, I may ask you to walk in the very back of the group, or if I really think continuing the walk may be too much for your dog, I may ask you to schedule a private lesson with me or another trainer.