Saturday, January 5, 2013

Winter Weather Woes

I'm not snow's biggest fan, but Barley is, so I'm learning to enjoy it.  When she's bounding through the snow like a gazelle (I know, I know, gazelles probably don't see a lot of snow, but I can't think of an accurate snow animal comparison--suggestions welcome), it's hard not to smile.
Happiest little snow dog!
Uncle Ben wanted to enjoy the snow with Barley, too.
But he failed to stay upright and she decided to herd him.
So, on days that I can just stay home and follow each snow experience with hot chocolate or a good winter beer and I don't have to wake up early to clean off my car, I don't mind snow.  I even got on a sled for the first time in my life over the holidays.
Bar with my parents' dog watching her Uncle Ben and his sweet girlfriend sled
Since I still have a week left before I go back to work and nowhere that I HAVE to be any given day during that week, I planned to enjoy the snow with my pup for the next few days and get in as many good walks as possible.

Unfortunately, my neighborhood had other plans.  The parking lot to our complex is one big sheet of ice and that isn't likely to change as long as it stays under 30 degrees, so we have to basically skate out of the parking lot, which is a little frightening with my romping snow dog (who seems to forget the word heel the second she sees the first snow flake).  There's a few feet of clear sidewalk right outside of our complex, but then the sidewalks on all of our regular walking roads are sheets of ice, too.  Since most of our regular streets are busy roads, we can't just walk in the street instead most of the time, which means we have to either take short walks or walk down the same roads several times.

Bringing a border collie mix into an apartment might not have been the smartest decision I've ever made, but most of the time we can walk enough to burn off her energy.  But my little snow puppy seems to get more energized the more time we spend in the snow, so exercise is even more important now than ever, especially for poor Soth's sanity.  (Thanks to all of the Christmas goodies, Bar also has a little holiday weight to work off--2 lbs. to get back to her usual weight, 4 to get back to her ideal weight.)
Uncle Ben brought Bar a Grinch cupcake from a ritzy pet store
Since we've been back home, we've been able to piece together at least a two-mile walk every day, but today it just wasn't enough.  My crazy girl has been running in circles and chasing poor Soth all day long.  After almost busting my butt several times just trying to get out of the complex, I just wasn't feeling up for a second walk today, so we had to resort to other types of exercise.

Remember the posts that Barley and I have for our figure eights and practicing our agility crosses?  My wonderful mom modified them over break so that they could be turned into a jump!  So we practiced a few crosses with the jump and then I had her do figure eights with a jump until she was worn out, which only gave me and Soth about 30 minutes of peace and quiet before she was back to her energized, crazy self.

It was time to break out the wobble board that Santa brought.  I highly recommend wobble boards for anyone living in an apartment with a dog or in a snowy, icy area like mine or both.  They are fantastic exercise and lots of fun.  There are lots of uses for a wobble board.  For agility, they are good for getting dogs accustomed to wobbly things like a teeter-totter.  They also help build balance and core strength.  You can have your dog do lots of things--sit, stand, down, a couple feet on--to target different muscle groups or work on different skills.
My off-centered dog
It's been about a year since Bar's been on a wobble board--we first used them in agility class last year--so right now we're just working on getting all four feet on the board.  For the first few days, Bar would only put two or three feet on the board, but now she'll get all of them on and sit.  Since we've got that down, our next goal is to get her to actually be balanced in a sit.  We're also going to work on standing, balanced or not, because every time I try to get her to stand she takes at least one foot off the board.  

The best part about the wobble board is that she's having so much fun she doesn't even know that we're actually training.  She thinks it's all play.  

After a good jump session, a wobble session, and a late evening toy-tossing session, Barley is finally worn out and sleeping in the spare bedroom so I can watch my guilty pleasure, Pit Bulls and Parolees, in peace.

1 comment:

  1. Haha, the wobble board is so much fun! Mad Dog probably will end up getting one soon...maybe birthday or adoption day??? I'm sorry you had to resort to that though! Hopefully you will have clear sidewalks soon!