Monty, Katie Lynn and Minnie make a nice trio to take the youth prison for the adolescent inmates to work with. Monty is so self assured! And such an adolescent himself – full of fun energy, at times clumsy but not often. He pulls a lot when he is walked and this is an area that loose leash walking helps with.
And then there is Katie Lynn and she too is self assured! Wow can she run covering ground faster than a speeding bullet she can. And Minnie. Poor Minnie is not self assured, rather she is everything but. She walks with a dip in her back and crouch in her knees like she doesn’t know when the next blow may come, she is timid and cowers … yet she wants to be right with us and is so loving and dear.
That is our threesome!
The first thing we did was to cut the dogs loose in the yard. Katie and Monty took off full speed all the way to the perimeter of the fence – so far we had to squint to see them. The youth were impressed at the dogs speed. I always worry that the dogs will get out but the officer on hand laughed and said it was doubtful! Those fences are made to hold everyone inside. Minnie would run about 20 feet but then come running back to check in with us – then run out again, and then back – like a yo-yo. She gained lots of praise and pettings every time she came back which encouraged her to do it again and again.
Once we delegated a handler to each dog, we put the dogs on their leashes and began to do some work. We started with each handler giving their dog a treat using the word ‘yes’ in place of a clicker. Then some simple loose leash walking. This is always harder then the kids expect – shoot, just keeping the dog on the correct side can be a challenge! The youth walked in large circles encouraging their dog to stay close and with them.
Then a water drink, some time to pet and do a couple treats. And the Recall. This is such an important exercise! Every dog should learn to come when called. We paired up facing each other – a handler with the dog and then myself, and two prison staff across from the pair. We took turns calling our dogs back and forth being sure to reward them for coming. The dogs caught on really quick! Monty and Minnie were right on top of going to their handler when called … Katie began to be bored with the exercise and used her slow saunter to move back and forth. We took lots of water drinking breaks for the dogs.
That’s ok because while the kids were working we had set up the tunnel and a jump! Agility is great stuff when working with adolescent youth and adolescent dogs! First we practiced the jumps – sometimes the youth jumped with the dogs. And then the tunnel. Sometimes you can get a dog who ADORES the tunnel – well, Monty sure did!
Once we thought they had somewhat of a handle on the obstacles we did a little agility course and that was a lot of fun .. a bit chaotic, especially when the kids weren’t listening well and Monty and Minnie ended up in the tunnel at the same time! Talk about hilarious! We all got a great laugh out of that. By the end of the session Minnie was walking with a touch of pride, Monty wasn’t a bit worn out but Katie sure was!
Hopefully the next time we will be able to do even more!
(please note, we are not allowed to take photos at the prison)