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Dog Days Of Spring

Dog Days of Spring in Vancouver
IMG_0648So, it rains a bit here in Vancouver, BC, but the rewards of the rain are so beneficial. We have the North Shore Mountains with plenty of beautiful streams and trails, the beaches, Pacific Spirit Park, the Fraser River as well as many off leash dog parks. Much of this is dog friendly and with the huge population of dogs in the lower mainland, we are very lucky to have so much. So back to the rain part; the rain keeps everything green year round and the air is less polluted but another bonus is that when it rains you can take your dog to Spanish Banks and let them swim. Or as the spring and summer months approach take them out onto the low tides. If you haven’t taken your dog to Spanish Banks, it is at the very end of N.W. Marine Dr. You drive past Locarno Beach, Jericho Beach and as you pass the last concession stand there are three parking lots to park in. Signs are posted to where you can take your dog off leash. There is a large open field which is very close to the road, so please do be extra careful when letting your dog out of the car. The field can be quite muddy in the rainy months but you can avoid it by walking on a path or wear gumboots! Your dogs won’t mind. Tides are high in the fall and winter and get lower in the spring and summer. It is so fantastic to take your dogs out onto the sand and let them just run! They can wade in the tidal pools as you look at the city and mountains from out in the sand. There is a lot of natural wild life with Hawks and Eagles as well as Seals and Otters. A website that I go to and check to see if the tides are low is: then I write on my daily planner which days are low to remind myself to go and take advantage of the low tides.
Plan to pack a picnic and take it out to the edge of the shoreline, if you walk out to the end of it, there are sandbars to set up camp on. Beware though that when the tide starts to come in, it comes in fast. Something else that is incredible, is that the Canyon Trails of Pacific Spirit Park are just across the road, so you can take your dog for a small hike as well. Can you say lucky?!
Parking can be difficult on weekends so get there early or go in the later part of the day.
So get out there and enjoy your time with your four legged furry friend or friends and maybe we’ll see each other on the beach!

Street Safety Tips

Dog training is much more than just sit, down, stay and come. It should also include everyday safety behaviours such as not going onto the road unless released by owners to do so.

Every minute with your dog is a teaching moment and something to keep in mind is that even though you may not be teaching they are still learning.

Teaching a dog not to go on the road without permission is not as hard as it sounds. What it requires is for owners to be clear on what you want the dog to do- stay on sidewalk until released to go onto the road. Consistency is the key here, every time that you walk towards a curb to go onto a road ask your dog/pup to sit and then make sure to release them before they are able to go forward. If you don’t want your dog/pup to sit then ask them to wait before releasing them onto the road. For practice I go to an intersection that isn’t too busy and start on one corner, I then ask the dog to sit then release to go across the street (say “off the road” when you come within 3 feet of the other side of the street corner). Once I get to the new corner I set up a sit again and release the dog and go to the third corner then the forth. Once I have done all four corners I then do it in reverse, within a few short minutes you have done 8 sit and releases at the corners.

Once I have practiced this several times, I then add in approaching a corner and pretending to just walk onto the road (without actually walking onto the road). The dog will naturally walk onto the road at which time I make a small noise (sounds like a gasp) and say “Off the road” while backing up, try to sound surprised by your dog going onto the road without a release. Once the dog is back on the sidewalk make sure to praise verbally, but don’t pet as this may over arouse the dog and put it back onto the street. Do lots of set ups of almost walking onto the road and getting the dogs attention back on you on the sidewalk. Having a out of control dog lunging ahead onto the road is very scary for this

I add a third step, which is: sit/stay on the corner or curb and go onto the road by myself and check to make sure that there is no traffic coming and then release the dog to come onto the road so that we can continue across the street.

Many times we cannot see around large vehicles that are parked and I have found this very useful.

Things to work on

– Plan ahead; know what you are going to work on

– Be consistent and fair

– Praise when the dog is beside you on the sidewalk

– Use your voice as to reinforce, don’t pet(could over arouse your dog),the use of food is fine

– Practice in many locations

Increase time and distance as well as distractions while practicing ex: throw a toy on to the road and tell the dog not to go to get it with a stay or leave it. (Always with safety in mind)