Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Another new trick for Glacier...

Today I saw a post on Facebook about how dogs NEED to learn tricks regularly to keep their minds stimulated and it got me thinking... Brody has a wide variety of tricks but I've been taking it easy on Glacier because of her shyness. 

Skills build confidence. It makes sense with kids. It makes sense with dogs. Duh!

So tonight I was just messing around with Glacier and tried one of Brody's tricks... To lie down and then crawl on her belly toward me. She did it on the first try! I couldn't believe it! Brody has been doing it so long that I can't remember how long it took for him to learn it but I'm thrilled with Glacier's performance!

Tomorrow I'll figure out some more tricks for them... It's good for ALL of us!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

A New Year for Glacier...

Apparently Glacier decided that this is the year that she's going to come out of her shell. Recently I started walking the dogs with my neighbor down the road and her 14 month old black lab puppy Quinn. I wasn't sure how Glacier was going to handle it but she's been a champ! 

We made a plan to walk and rather than having the dogs go nose to nose in the road with the usual circling and sniffing, we met on the road in front of our house and just started walking. I've learned that this is how you tell your dogs "I'm inviting them into our pack - no need for you to protect me". It worked beautifully! 

Glacier still keeps an eye on Chris and is definitely a little wary of Quinn when she's off leash... But she's a galumphing galoot who can't stop herself from bowling anyone over (people or dogs) when she's steamrolling toward them... So to be fair, I'm a little wary of Quinn too. At 80 lbs, she could buckle my knees if I'm not watching and bracing myself! But she's sweet and doesn't mean harm - she'll grow out of it!

This weekend we spent time with my in-laws burning yard waste and cutting firewood. I wasn't sure how Glacier would handle the commotion. Yesterday she did pretty well but ended up spending most of the time hanging out in the car because it was raining and she was cold. 

Today, however, I decided to let her off her leash to wander around a bit to see what she would do. She was amazing! She bravely went up to everyone even those in chainsaw helmets or running the chainsaw or blower. She trotted around playing with toys, tried to bury her toy in the woods multiple times, and came every time I called without hesitation. Phew! 

She is also completely undisturbed by the sound of the chainsaw or blower. Several times I had to call her because she was sitting just a few feet behind the chainsaw operator often taking chips to the face nonchalantly. 

We also recently took her to a local outdoor shopping plaza to keep her socialization going. She did great! Well... Except that she wanted to bully a bichon frise dog for a minute but she got over it quickly and just sat facing the other way while we talked to its owner. 

At the plaza, she even went into the dog supply store and happily took "chicken crack" (freeze dried chicken bits that are apparently incredibly tasty!) from the shopkeeper and a pack of teenage girls that came in. 

So... With her new-found confidence building we have to stay on top of getting her into new places with new experiences so we can continue to build on this. We did well when we first did her training last year and then we dropped off on the socialization when we got busy. 

She and Brody have also learned a new trick! Both can sit with a treat on their paw and wait until the "Free!" command is given before they eat it. I'm pretty pleased with it and am now working on some new ways to challenge them. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Happy 2014!

Apparently I went into a bit of a blur for the past few weeks and didn't do any writing. I'm back!

The first weeks of 2014 have been good so far minus an unfortunate stomach ailment that knocked A down for a full week. But other than that, it's been going well!

We rang in the New Year by volunteering at A's Masonic Lodge for the food sale and then enjoyed First Night fun throughout the town - great music that never disappoints! We had my parents in town to help us celebrate and thankfully they were okay with being home by 11:45pm, a quick woohoo when 2014 arrived and then to bed shortly thereafter. How did I ever stay up all night and then work all day at the ski area the next day?!?

The rest of 2014 has been spent getting good habits in place and preparing for the wave of busy-ness that is coming with my coaching job. I'm feeling good! I have been balancing work and getting in regular yoga/Pilates/walking exercise daily and am back on track with my healthy eating (I ate waaaaay too many cookies and sweets over the holidays so a sugar detox felt really good!). 

Thankfully we thought ahead when we furnished the big guest room and bought an Ikea masterpiece that trundles out to be a convincing and comfortable king sized bed or rolls in to be a twin sized day bed. That allows me the floor space when we don't have guests to do yoga in there. It's perfect! I tried to do yoga in the basement one night but it's soooo cold down there that my feet felt burned when I came back up to the warmth. 

I have also been going to yoga classes at the studio near my house. It's a nice interaction with other people and I love the space - it's an old carriage barn that has been converted. As long as you don't sit near the barn door where it's quite drafty, the wide wood floors and rustic beams provide a wonderful atmosphere. 

The rush with my coaching job has begun and I'm glad that I've gotten things in line to be ready for it. Since November I've had seven students but last week I was assigned 11 more and they will continue to trickle in until the 20th - I may end up with 20 new students each month until I have a caseload of ~100! Thankfully we started slowly and were able to learn the systems and program better before the massive influx but now it's time to buckle our seat belts and go for a ride!

So... Welcome 2014! Looking good so far!