Kathryn Dobyns

So my trip to the local park tonight turned out to be way more challenging than I had planned. Every search I set up ended up with serious distractions that detracted from Hunter’s searching and my ability to concentrate on supporting him. This is the first search I set up, which turned out to be the best one of the evening. The playground was deserted when I got there – we had thunderstorms earlier in the evening. By the time I got the dog pottied and the tripod set up, the small child had arrived. I contemplated picking up and just leaving, but I decided to go ahead and give it a shot. I warned the mother what I was doing and you will hear her at one point tell the girl she cannot visit the dog because he is busy…

Anyway, I am pleased with how well Hunter managed the distraction, but I am not happy with my handling. I kept him on a shorter leash and in a smaller area than I had originally intended. I would have let him go around the left side of the slide if the little girl had not been there, and I think that would have helped him with the third hide in the middle. I clearly dropped food at the first hide at the climbing wall – at least Hunter thought I did. He did a nice job on the second hide in the edging and I was trying to get him to go under the slide at 1:19 when he jumps on it instead – when he does get under the slide to get back to the middle of the structure he picks up the last hide nicely – and got a many treat jackpot!

So I learned from this that Hunter CAN work through that kind of distraction, but that I am not on my game when I am trying to divide my attention between my dog and what else is going on in the area. Hunter has very limited exposure to children and only in very controlled scenarios, and I just wanted to be ready to scoop him up and away if the little girl got too close. No more public playgrounds unless I have a training partner to run interference for me!