Sunday, January 8, 2017

Barley and Rye: Walking

In Week 4, my parents were a huge help with walking the dogs together so that there were enough hands to hold leashes and dish out regular treats. They also provided great backup when I first tried walking Barley and Rye together myself. 

When we got home, though, it was time to try a joint walk with just the three of us. Since Tuesday was Barley's special day and the forecast was weather in the 50s, I had planned to go on a nice walk at the State Park with her and Rye. We rarely see other people there between October and April, so it seemed like a better place to start than in our neighborhood where we'd at the very least see cars and maybe also other people and dogs.  

We woke up to a rainy day with temperatures in the high 40s instead, so I thought our walking would be postponed. After a trip to the grocery store to restock my fridge, though, there was a break in the rain, so I quickly threw everything into the ridge and then tossed the dogs in the car.

We chose the closest parking lot instead of the more remote one I was planning on, just to save a little time in case the rain started again soon. One of the parts of the walk I was most worried about was how I was going to get both dogs out of the car. Getting them in was easy since I could leave Bar in the house while I stuck Rye in the crate. Thankfully, both girls cooperated. 


Of course, one of the first things we saw when we got on the trail were two joggers coming up behind us. As I mentioned yesterday, Rye is very reactive to joggers. Luckily, they were far enough behind us and we were beside a large grassy area along the lake that I was able to pull both girls off the trail, have them sit, and pull out a handful of treats. When the joggers got close, Rye did rear up and even put her front paws on Barley's shoulder--and Barley didn't react.

Rye's modeling skills need a bit of work.

I was also worried about how I'd pick up poop with both dogs and that was a situation I had to encounter early on the walk, too. Rye takes a lot of cues from Barley and when Barley sat and waited, Rye sat and waited.

Loose leash walking was not really happening. Barley would walk nicely beside me if I asked her to, but Rye was going 100 miles per hour. She'd occasionally come back and check in with me and I'd try to treat her when she'd stay with me a few steps, but it's really hard to hold two leashes and get treats out of a pouch!


The joggers were the only signs of life we saw along the trail. They passed us again and Rye did an even better job although she was still a bit bouncy.

We had a lot of opportunity to practice sit-stays and get a few pictures in.


But while Rye's stay is pretty good at home (in a room with no cat and no toys), she was pretty distracted on our walk--especially by the end. Barley got very annoyed and as soon as I noticed her ears were back, we stopped with the photoshoots and finished our walk. 

Barley thinks Rye's lack of modeling skills is annoying.

Pretty soon, they were back to sniffing alongside each other.


The skies opened up and our last mile of the walk was pretty wet, so we walked as fast as we could back to the car. We made it a full three miles without Barley trying to eat her sister, so I'd call it a successful first outing. When we got home, the dogs were both pretty worn out.


We've also walked in our neighborhood on some of the less enjoyable days, too. This has been a little more challenging because there are so many more distractions, so Rye is even more all of the place and once I stepped on her and made her squeal. She limped for a minute, but as soon as we turned around to go home, she was perfectly fine, so we were able to continue on our walk (of course, she continued to swerve around, so I ended up tiptoeing around her).

Who knows how this ended up on my phone.

We've had a lot of wind--including 45 mph wind gusts--so it wasn't easy to get any pictures of them in our usual spot by the lake. 

The waves were too much for them.
Another worry I had was how we'd get in and out of the house if we weren't going in the car. While my neighborhood is pretty safe, I still wouldn't want to walk without locking the door and I wasn't sure that I could accomplish that (or getting back in!) with both dogs in tow, so I was afraid I'd have to stick somebody in the car to do that. Luckily, Rye continued to follow Barley's lead and she sat and waited while I locked and unlocked the door.


Rye still needs some work on walking in general and Barley and I still need our one-on-one time, so we won't always be walking together, but it's nice to know that I can get them both out for short walks together--especially on these bitter cold days when I don't even really want to go out for one walk! 

12 comments:

  1. Your're all coming along so well! I'm really impressed!

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    1. I am, too! I definitely didn't think we'd be at this point by now. Part of me feels like this isn't even real!

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  2. You're doing great introducing them super slowly. Hope it keeps going so well!

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    1. I think going slow we definitely the key to getting to this point. Tomorrow, I've got an even more exciting update!

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  3. Their progress is wonderful! I think once Rye settles down some they'll end up being great. Have you ever considered trying a hands free leash? I thought of that because it seems like you just don't have quite enough hands at times. :)
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

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    1. I think so, too. She's still so busy that she never ever relaxes--even if I have Barley somewhere else and I'm just hanging out with her. I think once she gets through a little more of her puppiness (she'll be 1 in two months and 5 days--fingers crossed that's a magic day!). I'm a little scared of hands-free leashes! Rye pulls hard, so I feel like it would probably hurt--and I'd be worried about what might happen if Barley did get nasty with Rye and I couldn't drop a leash if necessary. Having an extra set of hands would be nice, though!

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  4. Replies
    1. Thank you! It's been quite the journey so far and I'm learning so much from both of them.

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  5. I'm glad Rye is learning from her sis! :)

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    1. Me, too! Let's just hope she doesn't learn EVERYTHING her sister does.

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  6. You're doing great!! Our leash walking skills have become a bit lax recently so we're working on brushing up on those skills. When hubby and I were fostering I could proudly walk 3 large dogs all by myself in a nice heel position, and then when we were back to just Dante and Ziva I could walk them just fine! But since our move we haven't been doing as much formal training and now they are back to walking ahead and pulling me along -which is highly undesirable...so new goals for this year include working on it again!

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    1. I totally understand that! In the winter, I always get a little more lax with Barley because a lot of times the little bits of sidewalk that are clear aren't really wide enough for both of us, so I'll let her charge ahead a bit more and then by spring, I always regret that decision when we have to start working on heel again :)

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