Well, seems I managed to get a bit behind on posting of our Skill A Day. So here we go couple of days at once!
Day 22 was Thursday. That morning we took a walk with a couple of friends and had a chance to practice some really good recalls in the woods as we unexpectedly came across other folks walking their dogs on the trails multiple times. Rather unusual for our walks in the woods. This has been something Zora especially has struggled with in the past, the startle of finding strangers in ‘her’ woods, but I was pleased with her on Thursday. The first person/dog, when she saw them she paused on the trail, I noticed her pause and called her immediately. Not knowing why she paused, but I know that pause the ‘indecision there is something I’m considering chasing or investigating but not sure’ pause. She came immediately. Good girl! The second person and dog we came across, it took 2 come cues but once she came she was willing to not think about that person and dog as they passed which I was very happy with as that is hard for her. So work still to be had with her but again progress. Tom was perfect on the walk guiding, so careful that I didn’t slip and fall, and blocking the other more rambunctious dogs in our group from slamming into me. Good boy.
After that walk the dogs were exhausted, my shoulder decided to flare up and trigger a migraine so no other training that day.
Yesterday, Friday Day 23 we once again had an enjoyable morning walk. As my right shoulder was still giving me more grief than usual I was glad I’d spent so much time teaching Zora to walk loosely on leash (she heels on my right side as Tom guides on my left) for the sections of trail where she has to be leashed.
Brady the Basset Hound is now here for the holiday week and he loves coming to visit and go on our walks. Brady reminds me why I wonder why more people don’t own Basset Hounds. He’s a really lovely dog. I’ve been a part of Brady’s life since he was a puppy, he’s now a little over 8 years old and every single time I see him I think, “Why again aren’t Bassets more popular?” Growing up a neighbor had Bassets too and I always wondered that then as well. Sure, he bays but so don’t most more popular scent hounds like beagles and coonhounds, and sure he drools a bit, but so don’t lots of other more popular breeds. But he’s a good balance of smart/not smart meaning for the average dog owner he’s smart and biddable enough to figure out the basics and how to get along well in the house, but not so smart that he gets super bored and creates his own mischief. He gets along with everyone: people, adults, kids, elderly, other dogs, other animals. He’s a great walker, doesn’t need so much exercise that he isn’t happy with a good old fashioned walk a day. And his natural pace is much closer to the average human plod than a beagle or coonhounds (or labs for that matter), so he’s happier with leash walking than many other dogs I’ve found. He’s super social and loves to be petted. Very food motivated so if you weren’t inclined to actually train him to respond to cues, he’s easy to bribe with a biscuit. And quite frankly he’s hysterical, great facial expressions, you always know exactly what he’d like, and you can’t help but laugh as you go “Oh, Brady Boy you poor guy!” as he literally trips over his own ears. yes, that is really a thing Basset Hounds do. Really truly a thing. I’m not saying a Basset Hound would be the dog for everyone, just that I when I’m once again living with Brady, I find myself wondering once more why more people don’t have them compared to some other breeds of dog.
Back to Skill Day, yesterday afternoon we practiced automatic leave its as I cooked and baked in prep for family Christmas Eve celebration this evening. Tom and Zora make me smile as I notice the minute I put on an apron and start pulling out ingredients, they voluntarily move to the other side of the house onto the living room rug, lie down and wait for me to be done. I occasionally reward their excellent choice of local with a tossed biscuit. And then I smile some more that neither tries to go for the other’s biscuit hurled through the air with a “For Tom” or a “For Zora.” Tommy only eats those accompanied by his name and Zora only eats those accompanied by hers. I do love the choices they make. It is rather nice having 2 dogs at present who are really pretty easy to get along with. Most of the dogs in my life in past have needed significantly higher degrees of management and supervision to make safe choices. These 2 really have those past dogs to thank as I don’t take their responses as such for granted.