Walking Frankie’s Walk

We headed out to the AWLA Pit Crew training walk Sunday morning and had a blast! Frankie, like most of the dogs in the group, is working on his excitability around other dogs. He is not reactive, but if you get too close to another dog he will enthusiastically try to go say hi. . . yeah, not the politest. Honestly though I was expecting a little bit more of a show from him. He was a dream! You can tell that the shelter staff and volunteers have done a lot of work with him because he is attentive and will refocus his attention easily.

photo 3

Frankie is a big dog, so it’s pretty imperative that he has at least decent leash manners. While a group walk isn’t the place to exactly teach new skills, I used it as an opportunity to reinforce Frankie for walking nicely. Any time he would orient himself towards me and therefore have a very loose leash, I marked the behavior and rewarded him. I wanted to make myself more fun than the distractions around him that cause him to pull. Between the helpful gear (front clip harness) and the rewards, he did great! You know you had a successful walk when your arms are NOT tired after walking a 75 pound dog for an hour.

photo 5

Frankie and I enjoyed walking with the group and catching up with our good friends Kim (human) & Nicky (dog). Frankie and Nicky took an extra lap together after the group dispersed. Nicky liked Frankie initially until he used his all time worst pick up line on her (straight paw to the head) and she decided she’d rather play hard to get. Since he’s a gentleman he let her have her space and the two of them enjoyed getting to know each other from a distance. What a fun morning to wrap up our time together!

photo 4 photo 1 photo 6photo 7

If you’re in the DC area and you’re interested in adopting Frankie, email me at peacelovefoster@gmail.com.


Downtown Dog Walk with the AWLA Pit Crew!

If you don’t remember my feelings on structured group dog walks, let me remind you: I LOVE THEM. I also love when they’re in cool places with lots of cool people, which was exactly what happened on Saturday.

There are all sorts of fun events that brought Pittie Trails and the Animal Welfare League of Arlington’s Pit Crew together for a joint walk this weekend. Remember the handsome dog I transported up to Animal Farm Foundation with me back in September? His name was Gaston and he was from AWLA, so I started following their Pit Crew Facebook page a while back (I also just love shelters that have groups dedicated to helping their pitties!). Then I ran into one of their members at Bully Paws’ Pit Bull Awareness Day event, and we got to talking about our two dog walking groups.  Fast forward a few months, and here we were doing a joint walk!

They decided on a spot downtown by the Washington Nationals stadium (ah, the perks of living in the nation’s capitol).  The AWLA Pit Crew has seriously got their act together for these walks, making sure that each dog has the best experience possible no matter what level of reactivity they are around other dogs.  This particular walking spot was vetted for adequate space and safety from off-leash dogs (which are also intercepted by the dog-less walkers in the event that they do come across any).  It is great that their walks are so structured, because sixteen dogs showed up for this one!

We had a great time in the gorgeous uncharacteristically warm weather, and, as far as I know, had no major dog issues! I highly recommend anyone interested in socializing their dog more in a safe, positive way sign up for these walks with the Pit Crew (oh, and it helps if you’re in the DC/MD/VA area – they generally stick to VA).  You can email them at pitcrew@awla.org for more information about their walks and group in general. They also do fun human-only social outings, so it’s a great group to get involved in.

Here are some pictures from the walk!

0804 05

01

09

12 11 16

14

When I began writing this post, I gushed about the dog below, Willow, who is an adoptable pup from AWLA that joined us on the walk. Turns out she got adopted to her forever home on Monday! Yay Willow!

0319

Remember, if you want to join the walking group, email pitcrew@awla.org. Hope to see you at the next one!