We started with practicing "Paws Up." My girl is so smart it scares me sometimes. I've known she was smart for a while--when we first started training, our trainer told us we'd probably need 2 weeks to master our homework and by the end of our third day of practice, Barley had it all down pat even with distractions like squirrels, bees, trains, and neighbors putting a new roof on their house--but we do so much reinforcing of our regular training, that I don't always remember how quickly she catches on to new things.
After I had told her "Paws Up" three times and sort of lured her toward the box she was putting her feet on with a treat to help her figure out what I wanted, she had the command down. I said "Paws Up" and her front feet were on the box. So, we took a little break.
When we came back to it about an hour later, she was so enthusiastic about getting a treat that she put all of the paws up.
We've started doing "Paws Up" on anything and everything (so expect to see lots of future pictures of Barley with her paws on things when we go on adventures!). She's got it down, so now we're trying to work on getting her to bow her head.
That's proving to be a little bit harder. We couldn't train that behavior the way Diane and Rocco have--Barley puts so much weight on her front paws that I do have the upper body strength to keep my arm up for very long when she puts her paws up! So we're trying to just skip that step and work on it on various surfaces like the edge of the bed. Barley prefers to just put her feet back down and try to get the treat.
We've also been making some progress with our walking goals! Finally, the bitter cold broke. It has been in the 30s and even got up to 40 today! The snow is slowly melting and our sidewalks are reappearing! We got in almost 2.5 miles Wednesday and Thursday in the neighborhood. Then today we got in 3.2 at the state park! Hooray! We've logged about 80 miles for the year so far--I'd like to be at 100 by the end of February, but I'm not sure if the cold will stay away long enough for that to happen. Fingers crossed.
|No more trudging through the snow! (For now.)|
|This was the best pre-agility class walk we've had all year! We had a great, focused lesson on Tuesday as a result.|
|Barley modeling next to the last bit of deep snow in front of our house.|
Hope everyone else has had a nice break from winter's wrath, too! I'm going to go stimulate my mind with a performance of the one-woman Emily Dickinson show The Belle of Amherst tonight, so Barley and I are ending the month happy and healthy, both physically and mentally! A few weeks ago, I wasn't sure that we'd be able to say that any time soon ;)