One of the greatest rewards of our work at Fitdog is seeing how dogs grow and thrive through our programs. Since launching our sports classes, we have been able to see several club members come out of their shells and develop better social skills. One dog who has made a huge transformation is Mack, a four-year-old German Shepherd.
Mack was very shy when he first started to come to Fitdog for daycare in August of 2017. He was hesitant to get out of his mom’s car and nervous on the play yard. We realized that while daycare offers benefits for many dogs, like socialization and playtime, for some dogs, like Mack, this type of environment feels chaotic and overwhelming. In addition, Mack exhibited certain behaviors that we knew were being set off by a series of triggers but in the larger group setting, it was difficult for the staff to pinpoint what was going on.
We suggested Mack go on a canyon hike to socialize with a smaller pack and to see if we could figure out his personality a bit more. Working with our sports leaders in smaller pack setting, we were able to uncover his triggers, such as certain noises and dog behaviors. Through positive reinforcement and the example of his hiking buddies (positive peer pressure), Mack has really come out of his shell in an amazing way.
After just a few hikes, Mack was running from his car, practically dragging his owner, to get through Fitdog’s front doors. Today, Mack attends 4 sports classes per week and can hardly contain his excitement at the sight of our sports leaders.
About our Canyon Hikes
Our canyon hikes take dogs on one of LA’s several dog-friendly trails. Depending on the other hikers on the trail and an individual dog’s recall skills, our sports members get a certain amount of off-leash time to run around, play, and explore the trail. Off-leash time is considered a privilege and gives our pups something to work towards.
By participating in Fitdog’s sports classes, Mack has made so many new friends, and most importantly has a place to healthily exert his energy. He really benefits from the one-on-one connections he makes between the dogs and our sports leaders. We are so proud of Mack and his transformation. We look forward to watching his continual growth here at Fitdog!