Sunday, October 5, 2014

Birthday Walkin'

We missed FitDog Friday this week because my parents were here to celebrate my 30th birthday on Thursday, so we were on the go from the time they arrived on Wednesday evening to when they left on Saturday morning.

Lucky for me and Barley, My GBGV Life and Cascadian Nomads are hosting Walk Your Dog Week right now, so we don't have to wait until next Friday to share our adventures.

One of our favorite places to walk is the Holden Arboretum. We go at least once a month and love the   arboretum in all different seasons, but my personal favorite time to go is the first weekend in October when the arboretum puts on their Goblins in the Garden event. The actual event is always the first weekend in October on Saturday and Sunday, so it's like they are throwing me my own birthday party!

I often write about my adventures with walking a reactive dog and how far we've come since starting training almost 3 years ago. One of the most important parts of walking with a reactive dog is knowing your dogs limits and never setting them up for failure. I know that Barley is very anxious around large groups of children and other dogs, so taking her to Goblins in the Garden when there are hundreds of kids in costumes and dogs in costume would be a mistake. Instead, each year, we go celebrate my birthday on the Friday before the event. Usually, the volunteers are setting up the different stations that visitors can stop at for photo opportunities and the Scarecrow Row where local groups have scarecrows entered into a contest. We stop by the stations that are already set up and have our own photo shoots.

This year, my "birthday party" was even more special because my parents were there to experience it with us--and Pup and I got to take some pictures together!

We joined a scarecrow family on their tour of the arboretum. Barley liked little Daisy Field.

Our tour guide was not Barley's favorite guy.

They also had a scarecrow graveyard of historical figures. We had to stop to visit with Louisa May and Mark Twain.

Barley's always read to speak for the trees.

I love this picture because you can just tell that Barley has no idea what we're doing, but she's willing to humor me.

All my favorite wild things.

I'm not ready to build a snowman yet, but Olaf's always fun.

My parents posed with Mother Nature.
We had a nice 2.26-mile walk through the display gardens and the rhododendron garden. My mom had visited with us once before, but my dad had never been, so it was fun to show him around our favorite place to walk as well as see all of the fun fall displays.

Barley is a very visual dog. She notices any time something changes on our normal walking routes--once they added a new memorial plaque on a rock along one trail at the arboretum and Barley crouched and gave it the border collie stare. She refused to walk past it until she'd had a chance to walk all the way around it and sniff it from every angle. Visiting the arboretum when they're preparing for an event like this is great reaction to distraction practice. It's always nice to know we have a safe place to work on the skills that are most important for taking enjoyable walks with a reactive dog.


  1. Looks like a fun spot to walk and for photos. Happy belated birthday, and thank you for joining the #DogWalkingWeek celebration!

    1. It's our favorite place to walk--with or without scarecrows! Thank you for the birthday wishes!

  2. Barley is lovely!!

    1. Thank you! She humors me when I make her pause for photoshoots and has her perfected her smile :)

  3. Aw looks like so much fun! Wish I could have been there to celebrate, too!!

    1. It was fun! I can't believe you decided to spend the weekend half marathoning instead of looking at scarecrows with us ;)