Friday, October 10, 2014

Heeling

Barley and I have been busy the last two weeks. My parents came out last week to celebrate the big 3-0 with me. Part of that celebration involved Beer School at Great Lakes Brewing Company after work one night. We also went to a lecture about anthropology on my campus one night and ate at way too many good restaurants--which should have inspired us to exceed our walking goals this past week, but between all of the activities during my parents' visit and then playing catch up on all of the grading and planning that got put off during their stay, we just barely hit our goal of an average of 3 miles per day. We logged 21.09 miles this past week. 

After a short week courtesy of the Grape Jamboree invading our neighborhood the week before, Barley has been a little wound up this week. We decided to end the work week with a lakeside stroll at the State Park last night. 

Since our walks had been mostly limited to our neighborhood over the last two weeks, she was far more interested in doing her own thing than acting like the Canine Good Citizen that she is--normally when we're in a park, I let her walk at the end of her leash and sniff and prance as long as she'll come to heel when I tell her to, but she wasn't interested in doing that consistently last night, so I decided we'd incorporate some heeling games into our walk to improve her focus. 

Crazy tall shadows when she's walking nicely.
There are all kinds of markers along the trail at the park and a nice big parking lots with clear lines we can use as markers, too. There are orange cone-like things that separate the trail from the road into the marina. We stopped and sat by one and then we'd jog past a few and see if we could slow down in time to stop next to another one. At first, jogging made Barley nuttier. She grabbed her leash and started shaking it and growling--which is similar to some mouthy issues we're having in agility right now--and that resulted in an immediate stop and down. After a couple corrections, though, she was jogging beside me beautifully and had no trouble stopping for a sit when I stopped. 

 

There's also a big, usually empty, parking lot in the middle of the trail that's about .10-miles from the trail to the back of the parking lot. That gave us another location to practice heeling. 

  

We started at one end and we would walk for a few parking spots and then I'd start to slow down to signal we were going to stop and we'd see how close we could get to a sit on the lines. 

She knows she got that one perfectly.

Looks at that nice loose lead.

After our heeling practice, we practiced a sit-stay while I unlocked the car. She was pretty proud of herself for doing so well with our games. There were a few times when she got distracted and forgot to sit, so we'd circle around to the line behind us and try again, but after doing that a few times, she had her eyes on me the whole time. It's always fun to see how quickly she catches on to the training games we play.


We got in 3.3 miles all together and also got in some mental exercise for the pup. She was worn out all evening instead of getting into her usual mischief. A tired dog is a good dog ;)

Happy FitDog Friday! We missed reading all of the posts last week while I was entertaining, so I'm hoping to catch up this week (although my computer is acting up, so the majority of this was written on my iPad--I apologize for any bizarre autocorrect ideas that may have slipped in unnoticed!--and I might not get caught up as quickly as I'd like to.)


14 comments:

  1. Beer School? Really? Barley looks so proud of herself in that last sit stay. And she should be - smart girl.

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    1. Beer school was really neat! We got a tour of the brewery and then a guided tasting where we got to learn about the different styles of beer and the stories behind the names and creations of the beers!

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  2. Bailie and I both got our CGC this summer, but we kind of like to forget what it entails when we are out too!

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    1. Barley got hers a couple summers ago and most of the time she remembers that training, especially in our neighborhood, but sometimes adventures are just a little too exciting for remembering good manners :)

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  3. I agree with SlimDoggy- the last photo she looks just so happy and proud. Barley is a great dog.

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    1. Thank you! She definitely seems to know when she should be proud of herself!

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  4. Happy Birthday! I like incorporating mental exercise into our walks as well. And at home. Mr. N helps me "clean," I point at things and he brings them over.

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    1. That's definitely something I need to train Barley to do! Maybe that will be our new lesson for when the snow comes back :)

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  5. Hi Y'all!

    Oh what a good girl!

    I love it when we do obedience exercises during our outings. If we don't get to go hikin', living in rural areas where narrow mountain roads with 55 mph speed limits and no guard rails make walking in your "neighborhood" a no no, we do lots of rally type obedience in the yard. It's lots of fun and means lots of treats too! Yeah, I know I'm 8, but I put a guilt trip on my Humans. BOL!

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

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    1. I'm glad you've learned how to get lots of snacks added into your workout routine! That's my favorite part of working out, too!

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  6. Is that her tail in the shadow pic? It looks like an angel wing?

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    1. It is! When she's happy or excited, her tail stays curled up and makes for really fun shadows! Now that you say it, it does look like a wing!

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  7. Maddux and I need to play more games. Maybe you can teach us some when we visit! I think he would like the prance and sit game haha!

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  8. We've been doing clicker training with Luke and have just started working on heeling. He got the idea in basic obedience but we needed to reinforce things better. So far he's doing pretty well, and it is fun to work with him on it. It's so rewarding when they get things right, isn't it? :)
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

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