So you want to Adventure?
Going out and exploring the world with your pup can be one of the most rewarding feelings you ever experience. It isn't just the fact that you're going out to the forest with your best friend, but deep down it's a feeling of pride. You might not even realize it's there (especially if you're having a lot of fun!), but it is. More than likely you helped aid this pup become who he is today. A best friend, a shoulder to cry on, and a bringer of laughter. Now you are a special person, you are someone who has taken the time to train your pup. Someone who cares for him and wants the best for him. Even if you don't adventure every day, week, or even every month you still take time out of your busy day for your friend. Whether that's through training, playing or cuddling, it's all very important.
Your bond aids in your training. Your pup must see you as; his friend, his Mom, or Dad. He must trust you for you to trust him out in the desert. Though adventures are fun, they can be dangerous. Most of the time when we're adventuring we are off lead, meaning if Kai truly wanted to he could easily run off and never return. But, we have a bond, a trust. So, when it is time to head back home or to camp for the night Kai is there. I trust him, he trusts me.
Of course, you want to adventure with your pup, you see so many people out there doing it and it looks amazing! But.. how do you get there? Is your pup ready?
Start slow. Don't stress about rushing to go out with your pup who may not be ready. Adventures are meant to be fun and stress-free. If you have a new pup begin with your basic manners; Sit, Stay, Come, Down. These may not seem like a lot of fun because most people don't consider them 'tricks'. In reality, the basics-the foundations of anything are always the most important.
Here are some examples of how these foundations are important.
Sitting and Lying Down: When adventuring you are not always the only ones out there. Sometimes there are other people and not every person is a dog person (You probably want to keep your distance from this type, as I imagine you are a huge dog person just like me!). Or maybe this person had a bad experience in the past with dogs (and though I love helping people and pups get over their fears, this wouldn't be the appropriate time). If your pup is sitting down or lying down, they are showing this person that they are calm. On average this helps relax the stranger, which in turn relaxes the environment which your pup reads. Overall, a good thing.
Staying: Let's use our stranger again, perhaps this person is so terrified of dogs that they immediately start running when they see your pup (yes, it happens). If your pup has a solid stay, he will not chase. If he does not chase, this can be good for you and the stranger. Perhaps this changes the stranger's mind and next time they don't over-react and the sooner they can calm down the better. For you and your pup, it is good because this stranger may run so far, that your pup runs out of your range. This stranger might have a weapon and hurt your pup. Or your pup thinks the stranger is playing and nips at the stranger, who takes it as being bit and gets you in trouble with the law. There are too many scary situations that you nor your pup should ever have to go through.
Recall/Come Here: Another very important cue - especially when adventuring off-leash. Some pups are very adventurous and curious, they follow their nose/ears/sight wherever it may lead them. Sometimes faster than you can follow and soon enough they're out of sight. Whether it's getting dark, or they went behind a bend coming up it can be scary not knowing where your pup is. Again, too many things can happen to your pup from other people to falling, to wildlife. Calling your pup back to you and him reliably returning can save his life and give you peace of mind.
Of course, follow all signs on trails you're not familiar with. If the signs say your pup should be leashed, then your pup should be leashed. So, why would it matter about your stay and come then? Because, your pup may break his collar, leash, or jump on strangers and/or other dogs. Hopefully, nothing like this ever happens to you during one of your adventures, but it is something we need to be prepared for.
Even with all the training in the world, things can still happen. Don't let this discourage you if something does happen then make a mental note and later in the week start training again! Just like with us, if we don't use it we can lose it.
& remember, every day is a great day for an adventure with your best pup!