Dog Walking socialisation and the Newport park benchDog Walking in Newport/ Williamstown, Melbourne & the park bench
Anyone who likes my facebook page will regularly get to see variations of the dogs on park bench photo. I take them most days that I go off lead walking in Newport/ Williamstown areas.
Originally I did this for practicality such as getting the dogs to gather around, easier feeding of smaller dogs, testing recall etc. Then on windy days and days of distraction I found that the pack regularly knowing that they would be rewarded for coming to the bench started to make it a little easier to control the pack.
And they also know that they are going to perform a task (jump onto the bench) and have to be settled enough to be sitting right next to each other when being fed. That last one is a big thing for many dogs that have not had much off lead work or socialisation. And so conquering the bench is really a benchmark of how well the pack and the individual dogs are going on any one day.
Today a couple said that they were amazed that I could walk so many dogs so easily off lead. I know this is not an amazing feat for anyone who has been around dogs for a while, or at least interacts daily, but it can be a challenge when introducing new dogs to the pack.
Sometimes while walking dogs in a pack off lead, they can be so into tracking or playing or whatever their brain is tuned into for the morning, that they can forget about me being the leader and that they have to listen to the direction we are going etc. This is usually not a major issue, however the park bench and a few other things I do on our off lead walks, help keep the pack happy and together.
Dogs are social animals, but they also like a strong leader and guidance. It takes the pressure off them knowing that they don't have to guide the pack or fight to be leader. Taking little moments out of the walk and interacting with my pack, letting them know that I care and am part of them, really helps cement a relationship, making their day just a little better.