Here’s to the dog days of summer

Lynn Valley is a place where some days it seems like the trails are filled with just as many dogs as people. With the luxury of green space and yards there are many, many furry members of the community. With more families welcoming canines into their homes Lynn Valley dog trainer Valerie Barry is leading the charge to make your transition as smooth as possible, especially if you are moving from a couple with a dog to a family with a dog.


New resources for owners


Unlike many professions, those related to pets in B.C. are unregulated (some do have licencing). The BC SPCA AnimalKind launched its accreditation program in 2018 to offer some guidance to owners on humane, science-based training programs. 

“No dog professions [walkers, trainers, boarders] are regulated, which is a concern,” said Barry. “And the appropriate ways to train are not the the most popular ways to train. The SPCA’s initiative is important because it raises public awareness. Prior to this there were no standards. Having never experienced a dog, you can get some business cards and buy a google ad and get started.” 

The rise of pop-culture adoration for “leader-of-the-pack” training, à la Cesar Millan, has lead to popularity of punishment-based training, said Barry. She also cites a popular 1960s wolf study that does not pass scientific rigour that falsely promote dogs as pack animals. She also raises concern about balance training, which Barry says is deeply worrying because they will do anything to train dogs.

“They have great marketing techniques and terms that sound good,” said Barry. “Positive trainers will say they are positive trainers and we will use food to train your dog. Punitive trainers won’t tell you what they are going to do, they just give you magical sounding buzzwords.”

Without a program like the SPCA, people have to turn to Google and are surprised to find the trainer is going to use a shock collar and not knowing anything about dogs you’d be surprised what people go along with, says Barry. 

“If my dog is barking and I use a shock collar it appears to work, however there is that reinforcement that causes the dog to associate children, or mountain bikers, or joggers or whatever with pain because they are continually hurt in the presence of that something,” she said.

Positive training or rewards-based training are humane and based in science, said Barry. 

“It’s interesting when I go to visit families, often I will get the response of ‘That is what I do with my kids.’” 

Both Barry’s website Dog Partners and SPCA’s AnimalKind offer resources of positive training methods. 


Families, neighbourhoods and dogs


A walk in Lynn Valley is bound to encounter a dog or two, we love our four-legged friends here. 

“We have got fantastic trails, most of the spaces are dog friendly – you are allowed to bring your dog on leash – even the fantastic square at Lynn Valley Village,” said Barry. “On the trails people are friendly and willingly to help accommodate you as you work with your dog to train it.” 

However, one common source of conflict in Lynn Valley Barry hears about is trail interactions – especially between unleashed dogs and families. She has two big tips: always ask owners to call back their dogs – something the dog should respond to, and carry dog treats in your pocket. 

“Dogs respond to energy, so if you are scared or your kids are scared, the dog is barking – I would throw food in its face,” she said. “An owner may ask why you are feeding their dog, and explain if the dog had respond to its call or been trained you wouldn’t have but you are allowed to stop the dog from barking at or jumping on your children. 

“It can be good to ‘train’ your kids how to encounter a dog. Ask your kids to walk behind you and explain you are waiting to see if the dog is friendly. Running around and screaming will get a dog amped up – asking your kids to maintain stillness with you will calm the situation down. Asking a dog to sit can also work – especially if you have treats.” 

She also suggests being aware of the trails most popular for dog walkers and the times they frequent the trails. This time of year it is busiest from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. she said.

A personal passion for Barry is supporting families as they add a dog to their household or young dog-owners who are parents to be. 

“One of the things I am most concerned about is children and dogs,” said Barry. “I am concerned when I hear from a client that they are expecting a baby in three weeks and they have a dog that has been biting people for seven years. We need to get the information out to people who are going to have children that they need to prepare their dogs or prepare children for the addition of a dog.”

Her blog has a wealth of information on these topics – with the ultimate goal being to have happy kids and a happy dog. 

Photos courtesy of Dogpartners.ca.


Looking for more?


There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

Live and local 2019

The popular neighbourhood Live and Local concert series is returning again to Lynn Valley Village. Each week there are two events hosted by the North Vancouver Recreation and Culture Commission. 

Events take place Wednesdays 6 – 8 p.m. and Fridays  7 – 9 p.m.


July


5 Terminal Station Blues Rock 7 – 9 p.m. 

10 Fell the Beat – Move to the smooth and beautiful sounds of Rosewood’s Marimba ensemble. 6 – 8 p.m.

12 Cayla Brooke  Jazz/Blues 7 – 9 p.m. 

17 Music & Magic – An evening of cheer with interactive crafts, magic and youth band Sm:)e. 6 – 8 p.m.

19 R&B Conspiracy Classic Rhythm & Blues 7 – 9 p.m. 

24 Starry Night – Enjoy the Mojo Stars, an R&B tinged blues-rock that is guaranteed to get everyone out of their seats. 6 – 8 p.m.

26 Wooden Horsemen Folk & Blues 7 – 9 p.m. 

31 SHINE Young Artists Music Showcase – Join a showcase of the North Shore’s up and coming talent from Creativ Music Centre, backed up by a live band. 6 – 8 p.m.


August


2 Smith & Jones Country Rock 7 – 9 p.m. 

7 Jazzy Tunes – Join East Vancouver’s unique carnival band, Tiny Islands, to learn about brass instruments through their upbeat, can’t-sit-still jazz tunes. 6 – 8 p.m.

9 Trésor Otshudi World Music 7 – 9 p.m. 

14 Roots and Rhythm – Create community with an African drum circle and learn new instruments with JOJY Music 6 – 8 p.m.

16 Big Easy Funk Ensemble New Orleans Funk  7 – 9 p.m. 

21 Hands on Fun – Creative clay play, active circus arts and make your own bouncy ball.  An Interactive event for everyone! 6 – 8 p.m.

23 Platform Soul Disco Funk 7 – 9 p.m. 

For more information visit Lynn Valley Village’s FACEBOOK or check out this video.

Year three of rockbreaking on Seymour River

The Seymour Salmonid Society is marking a “mile-stone” of sorts July 10th. The organization is inviting the public and other guests to join them in society’s Rockslide Opening Ceremony. 


Rockbreaking Opening Ceremony


“We are hoping this is our last summer of the rockslide mitigation project,” said Reese Fowler, volunteer coordinator for the Seymour Salmonid Society.

The society is leading a walk July 10th at 1 p.m. from the north end of Riverside Drive to the presentation site for 1:30 p.m. at  Fisherman’s Trail. There will be presentations from partners like the Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations, government representatives and other stakeholders. 

“Part of the reason the ceremony is where it is, is because it overlooks the actual site,” said Fowler. “Anyone coming up can see the scar on the side of the canyon and the boulders in the river. Some of these rocks are huge – one of them is called a house rock because it is a big as a house. Others used to be the size of a car and our aim is to blast them down to the size of a microwave.” 


The slide


An early morning in December 2014 saw nature dramatically change the Seymour River. The normal freeze-thaw cycle created a dramatic rock fall. About 80,000 cubic metres of rock entered the river with about 30,000 washing away and leaving 50,000 cubic metres in the river. 

“A rockslide broke off the canyon walls and completely blocked the river channel,” said Fowler. “It created a lake upstream of the river. The big thing is it prevented returning salmon and steelhead from being able to move up the watershed to be able spawn.”

This lead to some creative planning and a multi-year project to re-open the channel and improve young salmon habitat.

“The Society has been managing a project of rock drilling and rock blasting so we can get salmon into the upper watershed again. This is the third year and hopefully the last,” said Fowler. “In the last three years we have also been doing a Trap and Truck program in the lower river. When the salmon arrive in to the river they are captured in nets and taken to trucks and physically moved upstream of the rockslide and released. It’s a lot of manual labour and volunteer assistance to get that to happen. Some fish are taken to the hatchery as well as for breed stock to support the number of salmon that are able to spawn naturally in the river.”

The ongoing project has seen a number of highs and lows. 

“Last year was a very poor salmon run,” said Fowler. “We managed to only move 140 fish to the upper river, but in 2017 we were able to get close to 2000. We are hoping this is the last year with trap and truck and that next year the fish will be able to move up naturally. The hope is that we will have spawning salmon in the river in the years to come.”


Restoring habitat


The opening of the Seymour River is one part of a larger plan to improve the habitat for salmon.  

“We have drilling contractors there during the week drilling holes and at the end of the week they fill up the holes with explosives and they set off the charge,” said Fowler. “They repeat to create a smoother path. For the salmon it’s about gradient, it can’t be too steep or have too big a jump. We are trying to smooth it to about a 7 per cent gradient.

“During the summer we do rock breaking but the rocks are in still in the channel. In the fall when the heavy rains come we let the river do it’s natural cleaning process and move those rocks along. We hope there will be some decent rain and it will flush the remaining rocks out and clear a path that will enable the salmon to through.” 


Community in action


Besides the paid professionals dealing with the slide, there is also a roster of 950 volunteers that support the Seymour Salmonid Society throughout the year. The rockslide project has a budget of about $1.2 million – all from donations and government support. 

“It’s a lot money but its a drop in the bucket for the wider ecosystem restoration we are trying to do,” said Fowler. “Creating passage is one thing but you then have to create the habitat to spawn in as well. It’s about creating off-channel habitats – river gravels and ponded areas so the young salmon and steelhead can live. They live in fresh water for a year before they move out of the system into the ocean. We create the habitat for the young fish to grow to a decent size and survive the two to three years they need to before returning.”

 The Society is working on 40,000 square metres of habitat compensation in the 15 km river between the mouth and the Seymour dam. 

“It’s an interesting dynamic here in that the Seymour River is quite a steep sided valley so there aren’t a lot of the flat areas next to the channel to find those spots and create that habitat,” said Fowler. “It’s a challenge but most of the spots we have found can be used to increase that habitat area.”

To learn more about the Seymour Salmonid Society visit its website. For more information on the July 10th Rockslide Opening Ceremony visit their Facebook page

Images courtesy of the Seymour Salmonid Society and Sage Fly Fish.