Saturday, May 18, 2013

Let's Give Them Something to Talk About

This morning, Barley and I met with our reactive dog trainer again.  She was doing a make-up session for the dog behind the sheet and she needed another live dog to be a distraction, so she let Barley have a little bit more practice.  We learned several new games that will help us with our agility send-outs and also helped us work on focus.  Since we were already out near a lot of the places in Doggin' Cleveland and the weather was relatively warm (although kind of blah and overcast), I decided it would be a good opportunity to try out one of the parks we hadn't been to yet.  We've been meaning to visit #41: Chagrin River Park  since we got the book and it's the only one in the county closest to us that we hadn't been to yet, but from the description, I couldn't tell if it was a park with much shade and since we got the book mid-summer, it was too hot to risk going to a place with no shade.  So, today was the day we tried it out--and there was shade aplenty!

I wouldn't necessarily call what we did today hiking, but we had a really lovely almost-4-mile walk.  The book states, "As crushed stone, multi-use trails go, this is one of the best to hike with your dog" and I would have to agree.  It was such a beautiful, peaceful trail.  It was a little busier than most of the trails we use, but the few dogs we saw were with very responsible owners who gave us lots of space.
Water break! Tired pup!
Probably the best part of the walk was that several people commented on how well-behaved my Barley girl was.  Since these were complete strangers, they had no idea about her struggles, so they had no obligation to compliment her to be polite.  First, we saw two middle-aged women struggling with energetic beagles, so we pulled off the trail and Barley sat and watched me; the one of the women told their dogs: "why can't you be a normal dog?  see how good that dog is being." (I chuckled a little when the words normal dog were used in the same breath as a reference to Barley.)  Then they told me how impressed they were with her focus.  A little while later, we passed two men and a chocolate lab for the second time and one of the men said, "That's good training" as we passed.  The best compliment, though, was when we passed a couple without a dog for the second time and they said, "Does she do agility training or something?" When I said yes, they said, "She is just so focused on you and it's so cute how she looks to you for direction."  Barley sat calmly beside me during this convo and they told me that she was "just so sweet."  

I'd say we've made some major progress when not only can my girl walk in public without incident, but complete strangers point out how well-behaved she is.  Yay Barley girl!
I love exploring new places!
The trail also offered lots of glimpses of wildlife.  We saw a lot of birds (and I still have no idea what any of them are--hint, hint, a bird book for my birthday would be awesome!) that were really cheerful--my two favorite mystery birds were small, about the size of the finches our neighbor kept when I was growing up, and one was bright bright blue and one was bright bright yellow and black (Cue Wiz Khalifa.  You know Barley and I couldn't see black and yellow without singing a little Wiz.)  We also saw several deer alongside the trail.  Normally, Barley barks her head off like a fool when we see deer. (One time, when we were on the trail near my parents' house, we saw a deer cross the trail and disappear, and Barley sat down in the middle of the trail and barked her head off; the only way I could get her to move was after I knelt down and hugged her and pet her for several minutes, and even then, she continued looking over her shoulder for the deer.  I can only imagine what the other trail uses thought.)  This time, Barley saw the deer, and when I stopped to pull out my camera for a quick picture, she sat down and waited patiently.

Between an hour of focus games and over an hour of walking, Barley girl was worn out.  In the short amount of time it took me to clean the litter box when we got home, she passed out with my Nancy Drew quilt and with the exception of a quick potty break, she hasn't moved much since.

All in all, I'd say the Chagrin River Park is awesome!  We'll definitely be going back since we're in that area all the time.

Yesterday, we got a quick walk in near the covered bride and had a little nature photo shoot, so I'll leave you with some of the funniest pictures.  Hope everyone's having a beautiful weekend.
If you thought my dog was always photogenic, here's proof that she's absolutely not.
"Yellow flowers make me so giddy."
"Chewing on grass is way better than taking pictures."
"Oh, you didn't want me to pose like a vulture?  Oops."


  1. Yay! It's always nice to hear good things about your dog, especially when she has overcome so much. Once again, love the pictures! Maybe we'll have to add that park to the list of places we go on my visit :-)

    1. Sure! It's not as cool as some of our trails, but it's close enough that we could do a cool-down lap after one of the cooler walks :)