Welcome to my journey! This blog is about my adventures in dog training, pet therapy work, rescue work and life with my menagerie of animals. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood...

So the weather has suddenly turned gorgeous and spring like and since I am on a roll this week exercising I thought what better way to get my exercise in than to take Beanie for a good walk and throw in some outside training as well. Mud be damned! I dropped the girls off at school and parked in the parking lot and started our journey from there.

Today's adventure was an exercise in being prepared and being present. With my handy dandy Go-Go Gadget Dog Training Jacket (my name for it) by Let's Go Design, there was no way I would not be prepared. That thing holds it all, treats, clicker, long line, phone, poop bags, keys, whistle and even kleenex! Now because it was so warm I zipped off the sleeves and made it a vest! I LOVE that thing! Any way I digress, the point was I was well prepared. Being present is a much harder feat to succeed at. Daydreaming is second nature to me and spacing out is a close second! But today I was in training mode, I was ON! It's a good thing too, because I was paying such close attention, I was able to see that our path on the sidewalk was going to cross something that I was sure would interest Beanie and from the looks of it from a distance it looked like a dead animal. He hadn't seen it yet so I took my chance to get prepared. I got out the yummy salmon treats he loves and showed them to him as we walked. As we got closer I saw that it was indeed a dead animal but not only was it dead it was mutilated (gross I know, but an important fact to note). We walked right by that thing with his eyes on me the whole time and the salmon treats in front of his nose! I couldn't believe it! I know salmon has a strong odor, but stronger than a split open rabbit carcass literally at his feet? I was pumped, and Beanie got a jackpot even though he had no clue what just happened! On we went!

We got to Chesterfield park where I was planning on doing some rally work with him, a lofty goal but I was prepared and present!! I saw that there were people walking the trail and a fantastic distraction; a small flock of geese! EXCELLENT, I was prepared! He saw the geese, he got very still, his ears went up...I stuck a salmon treat in front of his nose and asked for a sit! BAM (well not really that fast, Beanie doesn't do anything fast) he sat! He did a sit stay staring at those geese for a full 45 seconds, and the geese were walking around too! On we went! I put his leash around my waist with the handy dandy carabiners attached to my jacket and we worked on left and right turns and loose leash walking! I got a few sloppy fronts out of him (I lowered my expectations a little in the highly distractable environment) and some equally sloppy left hand finishes and we worked on speed changes in walking. He did one perfect right hand finish, got jackpotted and then we just finished the circle in a nice, non training walk!

I got out his long line and went to the driest grass area I could find and we played chase and bump and then settle and work. He really works hard and fast (for him)when the reward is getting to chase and jump on mommy! Eventually he stopped chasing me and I knew he was tired so we went back. I purposefully walked on the same sidewalk again to pass that bunny. He saw it this time and I knew I was going to have my work cut out for me. I shoved those salmon treats in his nose picked up the pace and cheered him on the whole way past the bunny, he looked at it as we passed it but he never once broke stride with me! What an awesome day! And the best part? I have a very tired, sleeping dog at my feet right now!

So the moral of the story is be prepared and present when you are with your dog, life is full of teaching and learning moments and you never know, someday it could save your dogs life!