Out on Squirrel Lake Park

Today was the last Out on the Town class. We met at Squirrel Lake Park, which is absolutely beautiful! I arrived about 15 minutes early, so I checked out the park a bit before everyone else got there.

I remembered how Karin’s Callie Mae heels so wonderfully when Karin drops the leash (but stays attached as a waist leash), but Callie pulls when Karin holds the leash with her hand. I had attempted this last week on a walk, but not until we had been walking 30 minutes already, so didn’t know if the time we’d already spent walking was a factor.

So today I decided to try it out before the class arrived. I had my shoulder leash around my shoulder, but didn’t grab onto it with my hand. And Felix heeled perfectly!!!! I was thrilled!!!!

We walked around the park a bit, and found a dock that overlooked the lake. The lake had a fountain in it. Felix had no issues walking onto the dock, even though it was his first ever dock! They had a bench at the end of the dock, so I put Felix on it and got a picture, then I sat on it with him and got a couple of selfies of us!

After the dock, we headed back up and ran into our teacher, Kelly, setting up for class. She was so impressed with Felix’s heeling!

Kelly set up several stations for exercises to work on around the park. Like we worked on the Super Bowl game, paws up, the food magnet, and several other things we’ve learned in class. We spent a while going around to the various stations and working on things.

One thing I learned was the ping pong game, which teaches a dog to move with leash pressure. Felix tends to pull against the leash when it is tight instead of leaning into where it is tight and going in that direction. This is especially important in left turns, when Felix needs to slow down in response to the leash pressure and not get run over by my wheels.

So to do the ping pong game, you start out by tossing treats to the left and right of you, back and forth. Then when your dog gets the hang of this, you start when the dog is done eating the treat on the right, use the leash to make leash tension to the left. Then when the dog goes with the leash tension, put a treat down on the left. Then do the same thing on the right side. Felix got that game pretty quickly.

We collected ourselves around a picnic area to talk about how it went, and suddenly we were swarmed by a school field trip! So we moved to another area and let them have the pavilion. There were so many kids running past us to get back and forth from the picnic area to the playground! And the pups did so well!

The last thing we did as a class was to walk a loop around the playground area. There were lots of kids and dogs! So I started out and led the way and Felix was so impressive!!!! He was just heeling away, ignoring the kids screaming and the dogs.

We got to the restroom area, and a dog that had been making eyes at Felix earlier suddenly came out of the restroom at the end of a 6 ft leash with the owner not watching just as we were passing! The dog hurried up to Felix, but luckily he handled it well and we zoomed away!

We talked for a little while longer when we got back to the picnic area, and then class was over.

I asked Kelly if she could videotape Felix and me going around the playground area so I could show you all his wonderful heeling, and the below video is the result! I am in my wheelchair with fairy wings, and Felix is a sable and white Japanese Chin walking next to me. Right before the video starts, he was lunged and barked at by another dog, so he was just recovering from that, then we passed another dog, and then we go by the main playground area.

Leave a Reply