Saturday, January 7, 2017

Barley and Rye: Weeks 4 and 5

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.
One night, I was watching a movie with my parents in the living room. Rye disappeared for a few minutes and when I went to find her, I found her playing with a cat toy while Barley was sleeping in the crate not far away. 


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. 

14 comments:

  1. There's no place like home no matter how fun a break is! Sounds like lots of hard work is paying off. Training more than one dog all alone is difficult according to my mom, but you were lucky to get some good help.

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    1. Yes! The first couple weeks after our trainer left us with a plan were overwhelming, so having help was definitely amazing. We would not have made the progress we've made without them!

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  2. I'm so glad your trip went well, and that you were able to use the help to progress things even further. I was so excited for you when I saw that video on Instagram!
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

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    1. I can't wait to actually be able to write about that part of our progress! So many things to cover!

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  3. I loved the update. On the one hand, I admire Rye's fascination with everything new and novel to her, but I imagine it grates on your and Barley's patience sometimes. Oh to see the world that way again, right?

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    1. Rye definitely has puppy brain and it's fun to see what's going to grab her attention. Thankfully, she's taking a lot of cues from big sis and catching on to training pretty quickly!

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  4. It sounds like things are going pretty well! Great job!

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    1. They are going fabulously! This post only scratches the surface of where we're at now, but I didn't want to skip ahead without giving info on how we got there!

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  5. I'm glad things are going well- training more than one dog is very challenging and takes so much time and patience. I loved that your parents helped you over the holidays! A family affair for sure!

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    1. It was wonderful having a few more people to help out with the training. I can only imagine how much more patience and time it would have taken to get to where we're at without their help.

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  6. Such a fun trip! Glad that we got to go to the park! :)

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    1. I'm glad we got to go, too! Thanks for getting in runs and Maddux walks while we got in practice and miles!

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  7. Great job! It's exciting when all the hard work begins to pay off. Did you write about the car trip? I'm curious how they did together in the car, and how you handled that challenge. :-D

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    1. I actually didn't write about it because there was nothing to tell! I folded down half of the back seat and shoved Rye's crate in the car. Bar was harnessed in on the other half of the back seat and they rode in complete silence and peace the entire way there and back! I was shocked.

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