Peace everyone. I shamefully admit that we are long overdue for a new post. Kuma has been well. Outside of his skittishness around loud noises in unknown environments. We have been continuing to socialize him in new environments for this, hopefully he will gradually get better.
Kuma recently had his first off-leash experience at the Dog Beach in Evanston, Illinois. There were lots of dogs and lots of owners. Kuma had a good time. We went with Kuma’s best friend Koa.
Koa frequents the beach with his owner. According to Koa’s owner, most of the dogs at the beach that day knew each other. This meant that Kuma was the new kid on the block. Kuma was nervous at first, he wasn’t quite sure how to react to a pack of dogs all wanting to meet him at the same time. Some of the dogs could sense Kuma’s nervous energy, and they hazed him a little bit. But Koa came to his rescue anytime the other dogs got a little too rough. After a brief nervous first meeting for Kuma, he relaxed and ran around and played with all the dogs for the rest of the visit. Acceptance! Kuma had successfully proved himself. 🙂 We plan to go back to dog beach as often as we can, it was beautiful and Kuma enjoyed it. Below is a video of the first awkward initial meeting. You’ll notice Kuma’s nervous body language, but after the dogs finally get a chance to sniff him he perks back up, and later joined in the fun.
The visit to the beach was great for Kuma. In a way, he got a taste of his own medicine (the other dogs really let him know where he stood as far as dominance. And Kuma usually tends to have a dominant streak in him when it comes to other dogs.) It allowed him to play with new dogs and meet new people. AND, it allowed us to learn something new about Kuma….(drum roll pleeeeease….). KUMA LIKES THE WATER!! We don’t have video footage of it, but at one point Kuma was swimming happily in Lake Michigan with just his face sticking out of the water. Maybe one day we can teach him to surf :-).