Titles Achieved to date...

Monumental A to Z High On Liberty
NW1, NW2, L1I, L1E, L1C, RATI, RATN, RATO, RATS, L1V, L2C, L2I, L2E, RATM, R-FE/N, PKD-TL, PKD-N, ADPL1, ADPL2, TD, UWP, ADPL3, NTD, TKN, L2V, ADPL4, SDS-N, ADPL5, ADPCH, ADP1(2), ADPL1(GC), ADPL2(2), ADPL2(GC), VPN, AP, UWPCH, ADPL3(2), ADPL3(GC), NC, NI, NE, SCN, SIN, SEN, CZ8B, NV, NN, ADPL4(2), ADPL4GC), ADPGCH, ADPL5(2), RATCH, CZ8S, AI, TKI, AV, AE, AC, and AN... 59 and counting...

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Public Dog (15)

This day did not have an auspicious start.  We were awakened by the painters at 7:00 a.m. scraping the woodwork around my bedroom windows.  Needless to say, Gimme was alarm barking and really wasn't going to settle down.  So I got up early, checked through windows to make sure all the gates were closed and then went out to say a sleepy (and grumpy) "hello".  Have I mentioned that I'm not a morning person?

I worked briefly at some of the work I had started the day before, so the things would be dry when I was ready for them later.  Gimme had great fun "supervising"... though not one of the workers would let her kiss them appropriately.  My plan had been to take her to a Fort Lewis training area for an off-leash romp.  Unfortunately none of the training areas we can use were available today - that almost never happens.

Instead I drove her to the next section of the Western Chehalis trail ("next" being defined by my goal to walk all of the rails-to-trails in the county).  Gimme had a very hard time focusing and LLW was not on her agenda either.  Still I persevered and by about half way through the walk she was doing much better.  Basically I went back to basics.

When we got home she got to spend some more time supervising the workers, while I was working on some general sorting, cleaning, discarding, etc. of accumulated junk.  In the course of painting my house, they had to pull everything away from the house and thus its suddenly obvious how much stuff is laying around.  My car port had become a huge repository for all things junk, so that is another large sorting project...  Built into the price of the house-painting is an extra dump run to haul off anything I want to get rid of, so I'm motivated to really go at it.  Since this project started, the guy who had started the yard project has bailed on me.  So the house painting crew has grown by some more workers, who are doing a yard make-over.  They are taking out some different "trees" (two of which were originally bushes), along with all the blackberry vines and excess ivy that had taken over part of my yard.  That alone will enlarge the useable yard space by 30 percent.  Its a big project that is definitely in the ugly phase right now - but its going to be really nice once its all done.  I think Gimme will enjoy having a larger personal domain.

At one point they had to have the gates open to load the trailer with some of the yard debris, so Gimme had to be in the house.  Since I wanted to keep going with the momentum I had for the de-junkafying, that meant she had to be alone.  Naturally I'm not concerned about her being alone normally, but did worry that any scraping and other noises might bother her.  So I lowered all the blinds and turned the TV to a classical country station, with the volume up... in hopes that would allow her to rest and not be bothered by outside noises.  Since she was snoozing on the couch when I came in, I guess I was successful.

I really didn't expect much of her for Public Dog class.  With all the uproar and resulting stress from our day, I figured she would not be in a good frame of mind to deal with class and I was prepared to leave early if necessary.  Actually she did really well.  I made it a point to approach training from the basics/beginning and work up from there.  I even went so far as to "charge" the clicker at the start of class.  The approach worked well and she got up to her normal capability pretty quickly. 

Our class projects were to work on "wall" (sit close to and leaning against a wall), then down stays while a wheelchair moved into position, then "stand" to be petted and maneuvering so the dog was easy for a compromised person to reach and pet.  Gimme really did well with all of those.  We worked on duration "pretty" - still building core strength for that.  Along with attention exercises and practicing "chill", which was not as successful, but she wasn't amped up either. 

BTW - charging the clicker when Gimme is clearly clicker savvy may seem like overdoing it, but it is something Morgan Spector recommends for the start of every training session.  He promotes it as an easy and quick way to get the dog into a training frame of mind; he calls it "priming the pump".  She certainly was more focused than I ever expected, so I think I'm going to start doing that at the beginning of all our on-leash walks and basically any training we do in a distracting or challenging environment. 

Overall I was very happy with how she did.  I'd really like to get in an off-leash romp before the weekend, so cross your fingers that a suitable training area is available for us tomorrow.  And remember to keep crossing your spare body parts for our ORT on Sunday.

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