July 31st 2010 3:46 pm
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Today we spent some time in Boulder Park. We had to drop Chris off at work (because his car was totalled in the accident), so afterward I decided to take you down to Boulder Creek to swim some energy off. I have been hesitant to play fetch with you because
1. you play hard,
2. you don't seem to feel pain when you're having fun, and
3. I am trying to make sure your body is ok after that crash, and we don't want any excessive exercise to exacerbate any problem you may have that could be healed with rest.
We spent at least a half hour at the creek in the water. It's great for socialization on Saturdays, because it seems a lot of people like to gather in the park. Lots of families (with running/screaming children), some barbecues, people floating by on inner tubes, hippies laying on blankets with their dogs (some aggressive and barking at the end of their leashes - good practice for you to walk by just in case...)
While you were fetching sticks in the water, there were plenty of people floating by on inner tubes. The first ones decided to come to shore right where we were playing. You were very weirded out by the inner tubes! After the second one passed you didn't seem to care. Later on, a couple actually ran into us on theirs! It was funny. You didn't care, just kept asking me to throw your stick for you (as we were all jumbled up!). As I pushed them back into the stream, I was afraid you were going to pop them with your stick!
There were plenty of kids in the water too. You totally ignored them. There was a band of them (about 5) trying to walk upstream. They passed you, shouting to each other, screeching, and just having fun. You didn't mind at all. They came back downstream a little while later (I assume they gave up), shouting and screeching again. No problem! One actually asked about you, and I offered for him to throw your stick for you. He happily obliged, and we talked a little while longer about Shepherds. :)
Finally, after our supply of sticks was exhausted (you lost them all!) we headed over to the Farmer's Market.
Our mission was to find Dominic, one of our coworkers, and ask him to work Chris' shift today so he can take some time off to heal. He has a stand at the Farmer's Market for Quinoa, a type of grain with lots of protein. That's all I know about it. Dom says he works there every Saturday morning, but Mari (another one of our coworkers) says he's never there. So we (by we I mean I, dragging you along) went to investigate.
I brought your Wubba and a supply of treats. There was plenty of distraction, and you had no interest in the treats. The Wubba is your high-value treat when working around people, so I kept it to myself until later.
We walked down the path with all the bicycles whizzing by. There were flocks of people, and a few dogs. We walked behind two small dogs with their owner, and one turned around and barked at you! You looked away. There was another person walking two dogs straight towards us, and that you didn't seem too happy with, so we crossed the path and let them pass.
We continued to the Farmer's Market. On the outskirts, there were plenty of dogs sitting with their people on blankets. You passed them all without a sound. I could tell they made you a little uncomfortable though, because you put your head down and your ears back as we walked by. Each time, I threw you the Wubba and let you play for a minute.
You were doing so well! I stopped every block of stands to take you aside and toss the Wubba for you. I feel like that helps you calm down so much. We walked among the stands at the Farmer's Market, weaving between groups of people. There were dogs there, too, but you didn't care about them. I think you were paying attention to the hustle and bustle instead of fixating on anyone or any dog.
(Though there was a taxidermied brown bear at one of the stands, and you were so very interested in him. I let you take a quick sniff, but there was a 'no touching' sign on him, so I moved on quickly. I guess on second thought there wasn't a 'no sniffing' sign, so we might have been safe!)
We were able to cover the whole area, without sign of Dom or his stand. :p I guess Mari was right, he wasn't there!
At any rate, I'm SO proud of you! This was a totally new situation (for the both of us!) and we did really well. There was no reactivity AT ALL from you. I think in a few visits you'll have this under your belt!
P.S. We also experienced our first 'drive by petting'. There was a man and a woman walking their bicycles towards us. The man reached his arm down and pet you as he passed, and all you did was look at him and keep walking (albeit a little faster). Good job! God knows you reacted MUCH better than I would have... haha
Also, we started a conversation with a trucker outside our workplace. The trucker said he also had a GSD, and we talked about how great you guys are! He mentioned that his dog was afraid of the air brakes, and I was curious to see how you'd react. He let a little air out, and all you did was tilt your head and look at the truck curiously. Good girl!
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