I recently joined a "hiking with dogs" facebook group for my area. I joined because I wanted to find out where the other dog people were hiking (for some new ideas of where to go) and potentially make some new friends. I was really excited when I found out that they do group meetups.
When I got my invite to the meetup I was excited but also nervous. I was worried about taking Phoenix because all of the other dogs would be off leash. She has been doing really well with other dogs lately and she did awesome at both the Pet Fair and Doggie Dash. After talking it over with my husband (he was all for taking her) I decided to go for it. The meetup was held at Thousand Acres so I figured if she does get scared or crabby I could always say good bye to everyone and go down a different path.
|15 dogs showed up (including mine) and here are some of them in the pond!|
|Zoe absolutely loved being there! This is her sort of thing!|
|Phoenix is wearing her new Freedom Harness. Review is forthcoming!|
I decided to keep Phoenix on leash for the first part of the hike. With that many dogs and that much excitement she would not have done well. She is triggered to nip at butts (or get snarky) when dogs are running around being hyper, so to prevent that I just kept her on leash and we worked on staying calm while the other dogs played. I also worked on CC/DS when other dogs came near her and my new squeeze tube filled with cream cheese came in handy! If you are working on any sort of CC work with your dog I would highly recommend a food tube! We got ours at REI and thank you to Natalie and Lia for recommending this to me and helping me figure out what to put in it!
|Zoe had so much fun socializing!|
|The girls chilling out while the other dogs played.|
|Time to be free!|
So after all the other dogs got to play and get some energy out and the group started walking I decided it was time to let Phoenix go. I took her harness off and she was so happy to be off the leash. She did really well with the other dogs. They mostly gave her space and a lot of them were tired from already playing so it was the perfect time to let her go.
|Phoenix stole that stick from another dog and then she played tug with Tristan!|
There was a guy that looked a lot like my husband at the meetup and he went and got a big stick for his dog to play with and Phoenix wanted to play with him so bad. She ended up stealing the stick from his dog and playing with it. Then when Tristan the aussie tried to steal it from her they played tug with it.
We walked around the park some more with the group and then it was time for them to leave. One of the other owners and I really hit it off and we decided to do a second loop. Her dog Lucy, is the cutest golden retriever! She's only a bit bigger than the girls and loves her ball. Lucy is just awesome! She ignored my girls the whole time and I think she will be the perfect friend for them to go walking with. Lucy's mom lives pretty close to me and hopefully we can make plans with her soon. She's so nice and Phoenix even let her pet her!
|Lucy! She loves to swim!|
|Lucy makes a big splash! Phoenix was so confused!|
|The park is pretty busy on the weekends!|
The only trouble I had with Phoenix happened to be at this part of the river. There was a really anxious pointer running back and forth along the shore and there was a great dane (she really doesn't seem to like great danes, I have no idea why). She got a little bit nippy with both dogs but neither of the dogs seemed to really notice. It was a light, almost like a grooming nibble but the look on her face was not "happy dog face". I was the only one who noticed that she did it and I immediately gave a verbal "uh oh" and made her stop. Lucy's mom said she would of never noticed Phoenix doing that had I not said anything to Phee about it.
|"I'm naughty and I know it!"|
Overall we had an awesome time at the meetup. All of the other owners were lovely. They were really fun to talk to and it's great meeting new people. I think going on a group walk was good for both of my dogs. I know that Zoe really misses socializing with other dogs. We used to meet and play with new dogs all the time before Phoenix came home. Zoe had a ton of fun. Phoenix was really good for the most part, too. I think Phoenix could definitely go to that sort of thing again with the proper management and help from me to make the right choices. I think Phoenix had a good time, too she did not really act stressed at all.
We all got a lot of exercise that day, we ended up doing around 7 miles but I'm not quite sure the exact amount because my phone died towards the end. When we got home the dogs did not move from their beds until dinner time.
I'm pretty thrilled with our exercise overall this month. We've done 60+ miles. Twice what the challenge was.
Happy Fit Dog Friday everyone!