Instagram post by @willowthewildandco Willow the Wild (& Co.)

Willow and I had some “us” time at one of our favorite marsh trails. Early before the sun broke through the clouds and the pesky gnats woke up.
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Ms. Wild is not a fan of wooden bridges. She has degrees to her tolerance where she can walk on or cross them if they don’t move or she can’t see what’s below. But some footbridges and definitely any bridge where cars are likely to roll by and make it move are out of the question.
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This morning, she followed her nose onto this platform, a nice lookout over the river with benches. Though more of a balcony pier, she’s normally hesitant to walk on anything like this. But I followed her and took the opportunity to do a little work. 🦆
I tried to just keep it simple and asked her to “ask” for her cookies as we walked around the platform. This gets her to be doing something that would otherwise feel a little scary but instead focusing on something good and yummy, ideally forming a new association.
It was safe, quiet and you can see we are both moving carefully to avoid any vibration from movement. Tentatively, she starts to loosen up and ask for her cookies. Because I know Willow’s body language well and because she is eating and enjoying her cookies normally (not taking them harshly) I know she is comfortable enough and below threshold to work with me here. At one point I ask her for a “pretty” aka a sit-pretty, but she’s not ready for that, and so we go back to “find-it”.
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This “find-it” game is so simple but it has been in our tool bag since day one.
If you have shy/fearful dogs or new puppies, this game is a keeper. And always remember the number one rule Willow taught me: Keep Calm and Carry Cookies.
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Willow’s harness and leash are by @blue9petproducts 💙which I love using for this sort of relaxed session because I know I can keep her safe and give her as much freedom of movement while not dragging a leash that makes harsh noises and remain close to her.
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#willowthewild #blue9petproducts #balanceharness #positivelydog #introvertdog #kindnessispowerful #slowandsteady

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