Friday, September 26, 2014

Braggin' Rights, Sunsets, and Grapes--oh my!

This week has been a busy week for me and Barley. My first sets of papers came in last week, so the weekend and the beginning of the week were spent grading, but we managed to get in lots of really nice walks this week. Monday was dreary and 55 degrees (and to make it even drearier, I thought I left my office keys at home--they were actually stuck between two books at the bottom of my bag--and had to go borrow keys from the front office every time I needed to get back into my office!), but the rest of the week was low 70s and perfectly sunny, so I found lots of excuses to take a break from grading and at least stroll around the block.

Before we get into this month's mileage, I have to take a second and brag about my baby girl! As I've mentioned before, we got into agility after starting training to deal with Barley's reactivity. Even though we'll never compete in it, it's a good way to be around other dogs in a controlled setting and give Barley a chance to practice being calm in a high-energy situation.

Being calm is a rare quality in Barley's life. I cherish the moments like this.

We have amazing classmates and an amazing trainer and really couldn't ask for a better group of people to be with. They all know Barley is a good dog and they give us the space we need when it's Barley's turn to do an exercise, but they never act scared of her when she gets a little nutty. We've gotten really comfortable in the class and Barley's made a lot of progress, so even though I've always got to be on my toes, we are having a lot of fun and learning a lot in class where for a long time agility was becoming stressful for both of us and we were on the verge of stopping classes. But comfort and peace couldn't last forever.

We got a new classmate this week--our trainer had given us the head's up the week before and said that this golden retriever was a very nice dog, but also the definition of a "dumb blonde." The new dog showed up about 10 minutes late and left about 20 minutes early, but it was the perfect introduction to her. The new dog was absolutely beautiful, but she was like the stereotypical sorority girl in any comedy movie--bubbly and spacey and overly enthusiastic about everything. Which is exactly the kind of dog Barley likes least.

From the moment the new dog came wiggling through the door, Barley was interested. Her ears were perked up. She went from her relaxed down to sphinx position and her tail, which always wags, started picking up speed. We immediately started doing some touch games and other focus activities. Our trainer helped us out by telling the new owner to go into the crate room while we were on the floor for our turn. When it was the new dog's turn, Barley and I stepped behind this little gate that leads to the hallway and front door so that Barley could have some down time.

She was such a good girl. Even though she was distracted, she still did all of the exercises well and never tried to go into the crate room to visit the new dog. She didn't bark. She didn't lunge. She also didn't start nipping me instead of going over jumps, which she's been interested in doing the last few weeks. I was so very proud of her. This was a good experience to keep me from letting my guard down too much, but it also was a good experience for showing me just how far my baby girl has come in our almost 4 years together.

Walking was equally good this week! It's starting to get darker earlier and earlier, so soon our post-agility walks will be coming to an end, but we had a lovely sunset walk along the river after class.


We also got in a sunset walk along Lake Erie before my Wednesday night "virtual office hours" for my online class. I didn't pick a dog with a good color scheme for sunset pictures--I had to either go with making Barley visible and the sunset less vibrant or having a dark, shadowy Barley and a beautiful sky. I guess I'll keep her anyway.  






We're also gearing up for the biggest event in our town--the Grape Jamboree. It's hokey with a 2-hour long parade, lots of fair foods, vendors selling things nobody really needs, but it's delightful. I've mentioned before that at times my town feels like Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls and Jamboree time is definitely one of those times.

I love when they hang up the Jamboree signs and the flower arrangements that look like bunches of grapes.

There's another cart with more wineries. This thing is a big deal.

Barley and I don't get to walk in our neighborhood much during the Jamboree weekend because the vendors are smack dab in the middle of our route and there are too many kids and dogs that aren't being well supervised to make it worth walking through the area, but we always get some good "leave it" practice after everyone packs up and goes home because there's always popcorn, nachos and cheese sauce, and funnel cake pieces on the sidewalks for a few days afterwards.

Barley and I decided to celebrate grapes a little early and stopped by the grape vines in our neighborhood to see if there were any grapes growing. There weren't many but the ones that were there smelled so good!

Barley thinks food she can't eat is not worth sitting still for.


But she was happy to pause at the State Park and read about the grape industry in Ohio.
We had such a nice variety of walks this week and logged 25.17 miles this week, which puts us at 807 miles for the year--1000 is less than 200 miles away!

We're ahead of schedule and I'm feeling good!

We're looking forward to hearing about how everyone else has been keeping fit in this lovely fall weather!


15 comments:

  1. Woo-hoo! Congrats on the mileage. You were so close to a marathon! ;) One of the reasons we do agility is also for the socialization opportunity. It is tough when a new dog joins us too but the more often it happens, the better it is for the dogs! I just finished the last bottle of wine I had brought back from my visit "home" to your area last year... the Grape Jamboree hype has made me even more sad and thirsty...

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    1. Thank you! I'll be sure to drink a glass for you this weekend!

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  2. 807 miles? That's great! Sounds like your agility class went very well- I'm glad that you can figure out what works best for you so that you can still enjoy the things that are fun for you! :) A grape festival sounds really neat, too. It was great to read your adventures, and I'll be sure to stop by again!

    -Sadie :)

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    1. The jamboree is neat! Although, I probably never need to try grape-flavored fudge again . . .

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  3. Can't wait for you to hit the 1000, that will be a party! Great that Barley is doing so well with agility and your trainer is so considerate of your needs.

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    1. Barley and I are brainstorming a way to celebrate with everyone when we reach 1000 so that we can thank you all for all of your support this year!

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  4. Sounds like you had a great week. You got some pretty pictures.

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    1. Thank you! We feel really lucky to live in such a pretty place. Eventually I had to quit pausing to admire the scenery so we could actually get back to the car before it was dark!

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    1. I do, too! We don't always get to admire them, but this time of year our walks after work always seem to match up with the sunset!

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  7. We've met those kind of dogs before! Mr. N doesn't like them either. There's a dog that he hates who initiates play by "punching" (pawing) Mr. N in the face.
    Oh and I read that dog book you mentioned before. Nice fluffy read.

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    1. Poor Mr. N! I wouldn't be crazy about someone punching me in the face to get me to play, either! Personally, I love the crazy, goofy dogs and would be more than happy to romp with them if I didn't have Barley with me, but I totally understand why Barley doesn't enjoy that kind of energy.

      I hope you enjoyed the book. Sometime I just need a good fluffy story to take a break from the morbid books I usually read :)

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  8. Oh we would have to steer wayyyy clear of popcorn and cheese remains. The temptation would just drive me nuts!
    And that definitely is a great story to brag about. It just makes you feel so accomplished when they behave that well!

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  9. So proud of that Barley pup! I think she deserves some nacho and funnel cake after the festival ;-)

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