• Happy Trails

    Happy Trails

    The hardest service dog skill for Dancer is ignoring other dogs when she’s trail-walking with her boy or training-trail-walking with me.

    But after much trial and error, I think I’ve found the right way to keep her focused on my command to “leave it” when another dog walks by.

    The trick is in the treat and where I put it.

    After telling her to “leave it,” I take out a medium value treat — one that’s not too exciting, like cheese, or too ordinary, like a Charlee Bear. I put it right near her mouth, so close that she can almost taste it but can’t. We keep walking past the dog and I keep encouraging her. Once she’s passed the dog, I give her the treat and a heap of praise.

    Dancer drinks from one of the special dog water fountains along the Coastal Rail Trail in Solana Beach

    Dancer drinks from one of the special dog water fountains along the Coastal Rail Trail in Solana Beach

    Today’s walk was like a mid-term exam for us. We walked the Coastal Rail Trail in Solana Beach along highway 101. It’s popular with dog walkers, very popular, so we had many opportunities to practice.

    Dancer did very well, even with the ultimate test, which came in the form a fluffy white dog that looked a lot like her pal Scooter. She wanted to play with that dog, but kept her eyes on the prize. Yeah Dancer!

    By the way, if you’re looking for a flat walk with lot of artwork and beautiful landscaping, try the trail. For more info, go to Solana Beach Coastal Rail Trail.

    If you have other great dog-friendly walks, please share in the comments section. Happy trails to you!

    The hardest service dog skill for Dancer is ignoring other dogs when she’s trail-walking with her boy or training-trail-walking with me.

    But after much trial and error, I think I’ve found the right way to keep her focused on my command to “leave it” when another dog walks by.

    The trick is in the treat and where I put it.

    After telling her to “leave it,” I take out a medium value treat — one that’s not too exciting, like cheese, or too ordinary, like a Charlee Bear. I put it right near her mouth, so close that she can almost taste it but can’t. We keep walking past the dog and I keep encouraging her. Once she’s passed the dog, I give her the treat and a heap of praise.

    Today’s walk was like a mid-term exam for us. We walked the Coastal Rail Trail in Solana Beach along highway 101. It’s popular with dog walkers, very popular, so we had many opportunities to practice.

    Dancer did very well, even with the ultimate test, which came in the form a fluffy white dog that looked a lot like her pal Scooter. She wanted to play with that dog, but kept her eyes on the prize. Yeah Dancer!

    By the way, if you’re looking for a flat walk with lot of artwork and beautiful landscaping, try the trail. For more info, go to Solana Beach Coastal Rail Trail.

    If you have other great dog-friendly walks, please share in the comments section. Happy trails to you!

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