Sunday, July 18, 2010

Boring walk report

Took a long walk today. The dogs were very hot. Dottie barked at one dog, but not at two others (although I increased distance quite a bit based on her earlier performance). I brought a toy as a different reinforcer, which worked beautifully. I think Dottie was pleasantly surprised that looking at a dog and then looking at me could produce a toy she loves and a little mini tug session.

All in all, it was incredibly pleasant and almost one hundred percent what I want out of my dogs: long, uneventful walks around the neighborhood without having to make crazy routes to avoid people/dogs. I don't mind crossing the street, but taking wild detours is a bummer.

Now they are panting and laying down. I love them.

Back home

Wow, I've been gone a while. I was super busy getting ready for my band's tour, and I just got back yesterday. One thing that's fun about tour is meeting other people's pets. We stayed with some friends in North Carolina who have a great little heeler mutt named Lil' Man. He was obviously a great dog, but super super mouthy. It reminded me that no one's dog is perfect and that we love them all the same, an obvious message that sometimes gets lost nevertheless when we are trying to work with our dogs towards some goal.

Justin, who took care of the dogs while I was gone, said it went great with no barking fits or problems except one incident in which they got mobbed by two off-leash pit bulls. Dottie barked at them from behind Justin's legs and Gustav just beat up the other dogs. So typical of their crisis responses. Gustav really can take care of himself, and he knows it. My job is to convince him he doesn't have to. This message is a little harder to convey when it's not true, like when people let their dogs run amok. Gustav is extremely intimidating when he decides it's time to take care of business and I've never seen him lose a contest of this variety. He snarls and growls and pins the other dog within seconds.

Well, I'm back in the saddle for a few weeks, after which I'm on vacation again (!). I'm going to take the dogs out on a long long walk right now. Nice.