We've had multiple successes this weekend, and since the whole reason I started this blog was to keep track of our successes for the days when I need a reminder that we've come a long way (or as a reminder that things can fall apart if I let my guard down), I thought I should take a few minutes to make a note of them.
Yesterday, it was sunny and in the 40s. Since I didn't have papers to grade this weekend, I thought I should take advantage of the break from the cold and go adventuring with my girl. There were several places in Doggin' Cleveland that we hadn't had a chance to check out yet. There are several that sound like great parks, but they are over an hour away and since the majority of our adventuring takes place in the summer, it doesn't seem very practical to drive that far away when it's going to be too hot to walk for long.
So, we took a little road trip to check out Doggin' Cleveland's #2 park: Hinckley Reservation. I picked this park for a few reasons. First, it was listed as the second best park out of 50 in the area. But the main reason I picked it for this trip was because it has a 3-mile paved trail around a lake. I figured that a paved trail was probably going to be clearer and less muddy than the clay or gravel trails. I was right.
That also meant that we had a lot of distractions to deal with. Everyone was out with their dogs since everyone's had cabin fever. I was hoping with 3 miles worth of trail, we'd have plenty of empty spaces to avoid running into other dogs, but it wasn't quite that easy.
Even though there were a lot of dogs--all shapes and sizes (and some wearing coats!)--Barley was excellent. Every time we saw another dog coming, we pulled off the trail and I gave Barley treats. She didn't react at all. She also didn't care about any of the joggers we encountered. I was so very proud of her. There was even one moment when an off-leash dog came by (and luckily it had an observant owner, who called it to heel--and it listened!) and Barley didn't bat an eye. The one difficult distraction we encountered was some bird--I'm not sure what kind it was because I was trying to get her attention so she didn't try to sniff people we were passing in a tight spot, but I saw brown feathers swoop in front of the path. Barley is scared of birds when they're flying, so she stopped in her tracks and gazed off into the woods where the bird had gone. The people we were trying to avoid stopped and laughed at her. My dog is such a goober.
There were some really incredible views of the lake, but we didn't have an opportunity to get pictures of very many with all the other dogs around. I'm not sure that we'll be going back to this park. It was very nice and it looked like there were some great woodsy trails to explore when the snow is gone, but we already have some great parks that are just as pretty and take less than half the time to get to. It was definitely a fantastic walk, though!
|The one picture we got of the lake.|
There were only a few other dogs on trails and enough different paths that we could turn in different directions to avoid running into them. The skies were so ridiculously beautifully blue. This park was really nice, too, but again it was far enough away that we probably won't be going back any time soon.
Today, we had to get up and out the door for our first noseworks class--I'll save the main points for Friday's post--but she did GREAT work in class. I was nervous because there were at least 6 other dogs in class and when we got there, we found out that noseworks is all about drive and instinct--two things that get Barley into trouble regularly.
The dogs were super excited and energetic, but Barley was having so much fun that she didn't notice the other dogs moving around. She didn't even bark when she saw other dogs moving around while I got more treats ready to go!
Our last bit of success came after class when we went to one of our favorite parks that's down the street from our training center. I wasn't sure if we'd actually be able to walk because the paths are not paved and an update on the park website said one of the parking lots was closed due to flooding, but we got another 3.8 miles in today. It was fantastic--even if it wasn't quite as warm today.
The biggest success came when we saw three deer along the path. Once upon a time, we had been on a trail near my parents' old house. A deer jumped across the path--right at a curve, so the people coming in our direction didn't see the deer run into the woods--and Barley sat down in the middle of the trail and barked her head off. She wouldn't stop until I put her in a bear hug and all of the other people on the trail had already looked at us like we were nuts. Similarly, when deer would play in my parents' backyard, Barley would stand on their back porch and growl at the deer. Today, she sat calmly and watched the deer while I took some pictures and then even posed with the in the background. Baby girl is growing up!
We even saw a tiny raccoon on the side of a tree. I felt bad for it--it seemed pretty scared and I thought raccoons were supposed to be sleeping during the day, but it was kind enough to pose for a picture.
We had another beautiful walk along the frozen river.
Sweet Barley was so worn out by the time we got home that she couldn't even make it all the way onto her bed.
We're right on track to be at 100 miles for the year by the end of the month! Now if Mother Nature can just give us a few more days of above freezing temperatures, I'll be one happy girl!