I forget that the longer we walked, the more energy seemed to have when we got home.
I forget that we didn't sleep through the night until I discovered she loved Jewel, especially the Perfectly Clear album.
And, most of the time, I forget how responsive she is to my body language and commands (although she does go through bouts of obstinacy--but if you ask my mom, this is karma coming after me). With the exception of her reactive encounters with other dogs, Barley's always been a relatively good walker. Even though she would never be able to pass the straight-line test if we ever got pulled over . . . and our trainer did say she was bound to kill me if we kept weaving like that--but she's never really pulled; she's always been content to trot along at the end of her leash and never fusses when I tell her we're done sniffing some new smell. Now that she's well trained with heeling and walks nicely beside me 92% of the time, I forget what it's like to walk a dog who doesn't heel.
Today, though, I remembered. I met a sweet little boy pup named Xavier while volunteering with Barley's mothership. Xavier's a 10-month-old purebred Pit Bull and he was a doll. Our introduction was very similar to the one I had with my Barley girl. I said, "Well, hello. Aren't you handsome?" He stood in his cage and wiggled. I took him out and he was in my lap smothering me with kisses. The rest of my time at the adopt-a-thon, we were pretty much inseparable--I tried to console a lab/houd mix who didn't like being in her crate and Xavier looked at me with the saddest eyes, so I had to leave SadieMae to the other volunteers.
As adorable as Xavier is, he is also a bundle of puppy energy (although he's housebroken--and his adoption fee is waived to an approved adopter because someone else fell in love with him and wanted to be sure he could go to a good home!) and every last inch of him is pure muscle, so he was a handful on a leash.
|After going for mini-walks outside every 20 minutes or so, he finally wore out enough for me to take his picture.|
I got home to a very grumpy Barley Bear--she does not like it when I leave her for other dogs--even if I bring home a new toy for her.
I had to sit on the porch and let her sniff me for a good 15 minutes before she'd actually go out into the yard. After that, I gave her a new mummy toy (yay Halloween toys!) and all was forgiven.
Despite the caffeine boost I picked up at Starbucks on my way home, I needed a nap and Barley was happy to snuggle up next to me after I changed into new clothes and we had a lovely lazy afternoon.
|Why does your lap smell like someone else?|
|Seriously, how cute is this?|
Then, since it was gorgeous outside and I needed to remember what it felt like to walk a well-trained dog, we walked down to the park near our house and practiced stays and heeling.
|We had a lot of fun crunching these leaves between exercises.|
|I'm not sure why there are large crayon-looking things, but there are two and they are perfect for practicing figure eights.|
We also had several unexpected dog encounters on our way to and from the park, so we got to practice Barley's focus, too. I had just enough treats left in my pocket to get us past Barley's arch-nemesis, Little Bit the Yorkie, before we ducked back into our parking lot.
One week until the TDI test--heeling and stays are going well, but I am not convinced we'll survive the walking over spilled food portion of the test . . . that's our goal for the next few days. Fingers crossed.