Yesterday was a Good Day. And we got a lot more done than I expected.
Play: With a few inches of snow, I safely let the dogs play in the yard for half an hour while I cleaned out the van and even vacuumed it. They had fun digging and running and getting snowballs on their feet. Dog cars are hard to keep clean.
Tracking: We met our new training friend to do some tracking. It was about 15*. Wind chill made it about 0*. We didn't last very long, we both ran one dog on three tracks. Blaze's first: he stopped to go to the bathroom. And couldn't seem to find the track, but kept working. But when he was going through a 6" drift and stopped holding up his feet...I carried him to the car. We did his next two on the snowy gravel and he did much better but was still working WAY slower than usual. I was smart and used more food on the later ones... but I was still surprised at how much it slowed him and how well he kept trying!
Toy Play: Griffin was going to have his OFA xrays done in a few hours and couldn't eat food. So after tracking, in my many layers of clothing, I got out a longline and we played frisbee fetch-tug. And it went really well even with no food! I was able to reinforce recalls, and it was just a lot of fun to be at the park with absolutely no one else there at that point. He was adorable and we REALLY need to do more of this. Our play reinforcement value is greatly growing!
Walks in Town Without Food: We had twenty minutes until our vet appt, so we parked and walked around town. Without food. With two golden retrievers. And it went really well. Even with the cold, we saw quite a few people and walked past them. I wanted to reinforce, but had to go with "great dogs! Let's GO!".
OFA sedation and Secondary Reinforcers: The sedation part is what I was worried about. Once sedated, all is fine, but before then, he could be a flailing scared dog. I tried pinning him to the wall (which he thinks is great, do I want a leg lift with that?). And then using his conditioned secondary of head scratching. We repeated several times, and it definitely was a reinforcer. Then it was time for the real thing...and the vet touching was not okay. Griffin reared up and put his front paws on me. So we did the injection like that. And it worked. Much easier than I thought.
Waiting and walking: Blaze and I had twenty minutes and took some treats and went around town again. I took food and reinforced attention and good walking. And once we were to well-shoveled areas, I took off his Gentle Leader for about ten minutes. He was adorable, prancing along and staring at me. And it was somewhat sad to think that even almost-ten-years-ago as a puppy we spent time walking in the exact same places. In some ways a lot has changed, and in other ways, not so much. still, just walking along, wanting his treats. We went back and picked up Griffin and went home. Griffin wasn't up for agility training that night, so I took Luna.
Luna's agility: She was great! Attentive and focus and never wandered off. She wasn't her fastest, but she seemed happy, what do you think?
Sometimes she's super scared there and sometimes happy. I wasn't sure if tail-up was happy dog or if she needed to poop. But I think she was happy. I have to find a way to get her in class and trialing again.