After a busy two weeks in Alabama, Barley, Rye, Soth, and I are all happy to be back home and into somewhat of a normal routine. Since we missed our Week 4 update with the holidays, we're combining it with Week 5 today!
Even over the break, we kept up our training with handfeeding (almost) every meal together. Since my parents' house is much more open than ours, there aren't good spots for gates, so all of our meals happened with the crates, but that was probably for the best.
With 6 people, 5 dogs, and 2 cats under one roof, Rye's attention span was even more limited than usual. Thankfully, our family was good about giving us time with the other dogs outside or in a separate room so that we could do our meals, but when it was Rye's turn out of the crate, she was still sure she should be looking for her new friends. I had to leash her a couple times so she'd stay and finish eating, but by the end of the visit, she was doing much better with focusing and eating.
|What do you mean it's meal time? I want to play with my cousin.|
The biggest change in Weeks 4 and 5 was that the girls were able to start walking together. My parents were wonderful training assistants and walked Barley while I walked Rye on several occasions.
My dad, who never carries treats on walks, took a baggie of treats for Barley on every walk with just a little bit of grumbling. At first, I'd have to tell Barley what a good girl she was being to prompt my dad to give her a treat, but by the end of the visit, he was catching good behavior and rewarding it without any prompting from me.
The girls did very well walking. It was obvious Barley wasn't thrilled that she wasn't walking with me--her ears were almost always perked up and she was always aware of where I was, so it wasn't her usual relaxed walking, but she was very tolerant of Rye's behavior. After a few walks, we walked closer together and a couple times Rye nudged up against Barley (and once left a big long line of slobber across Barley's side) and Barley never reacted. She got lots of treats for being tolerant of a pesty little sister.
A new park opened up in my parents' town and there were very few people using it over the break, so we used that to try our first walk where I held both dogs. My parents were there for backup and walked Rye for a few minutes until we got to the outer trail where there weren't shore birds (which Rye thought would be great toys) so I didn't end up in the lake. Then they handed off the leash to me. Barley didn't even notice that I was walking two dogs. A couple times, I had to hand one dog off to Mom or Dad when we saw a jogger because Rye is very reactive to joggers, but we got in a nice walk together. We were able to repeat this on another trail, too, and we got to practice more reaction to distraction with lots of bikes. Rye did pretty well watching how Barley sat calmly along the trail while bikers passed, but there were still a few times she was more interested in bouncing around instead of sitting nicely.
We survived the road trip back home in our little clown car and jumped right back into training after sleeping in the next day. Since we've been home, we've gone on walks with all three of us and no backup. Check back in tomorrow to see how that adventure has gone.