Nick and I were on vacation last week, during which time we tackled some home organizing projects that have been haunting me ever since we recently started watching the show “Hoarders” on Netflix. Later in the week, once five years worth of tax and business papers were sorted and shred, and an entire basement worth of crap was either tossed or donated, we also spent a lot of time with the dogs.
During the week, Leah accompanied Meadow to Rally class, and unfortunately for her, (who has only attended three other Rally classes in her lifetime), the course was a learning course, consisting of over twenty signs set up in rows – from Novice through Excellent. But we muddled through, worked on our pivots, and did one run while Leah dragged her leash through the entire course, right past the “Honor” dog – which did not stress me nearly so much as whenever I attempt the same stunt with Toby.
Meadow also accompanied Leah to Nose Work, where she sat on the sidelines with Nick and watched with keen interest as Leah and the other dogs took turns shoving their heads into boxes. But when our instructor offered to let her do a search, Meadow drew the line at being offered a box of her own, deciding the boxes weren’t so interesting after all, and the other dogs could keep ‘em.
Then Nick accompanied me and Toby to our Nose Work class on Saturday, where it was so hot that poor Toby abandoned his search, lay down, and looked at me with a look that said, “You find it.” But the good news is, Blue Ribbon Dog Training, (where we take our Nose Work class), is moving on August 1st – to an air conditioned facility in Bohemia. Air conditioning. Yay!
During our week off, Nick took Meadow on many walks around the neighborhood, and I accompanied them while alternating between Toby and Leah at the end of my leash. (I have not yet mastered the two-dog walk, and it this point, it is doubtful I ever will). We walked up and down streets, through the woods, and made a few trips to K-Mart – where we all sat on the bench together and people watched. We even got up early each day to beat the heat, which is quite an accomplishment for me. I am not a morning person.
AND FINALLY – Meadow saw the beach for what we are guessing was the first time in her life. Emboldened by Toby’s presence, she even stepped into the waves. And out again. And in again. Both dogs were extremely hot after the ¾ of a mile or so walk down to the water at Gardiner’s Park in Bay Shore, so we couldn’t stay as long as we liked – but for a first visit to the sand, Meadow did extremely well. There were a few times that she appeared unsure, but her tail wagged lots – and never tucked once – so that was a major success in my book.
Additionally, Meadow and Toby got to meet a few friendly dogs on the way to and from the beach and again while we sat on a shady bench by the pond to cool off after our walk. Toby even got to play under a sprinkler, for a few moments, until a town employee drove approximately two feet, (on a tractor that she had been sitting stagnant on during our entire visit), in order to inform me that the sprinkler was actually for watering grass and not for watering dogs. She then proceeded to glare at me from her guard post until I led my disappointed Lab away.
At the end of the week, after I realized that Leah had never seen the beach either, (she has only gone swimming in a mountain lake), I decided it was a good idea if she accompanied Nick, Me, and Meadow to a small beach in Blue Point. Leah clearly let me know what she thought of that decision by taking a big dump on the beach, only moments after arriving. She did not like the waves, or the sand, or the heat, and could not be convinced that going even ankle deep into the surf was a good idea. Due to Leah’s misery, and several horseflies that found Meadow particularly sweet, and a Seagull that used my back for target practice – we cut our second beach visit even shorter than the previous beach visit. Toby will be my dog of choice for all future trips to the shore, and for once, I think Leah won’t mind being left behind.
I hope you enjoy the following video from our beach days:
After we returned from the beach and rinsed the salty water off the girls, we endured Toby’s jealous sniffing, and then allowed him to open his new handmade tug toy, which we won a few weeks back from an informative blog, “Success just Clicks,” written by a positive dog trainer who also makes homemade tug toys. Toby had already stolen and torn the package open a few days earlier while Nick and I were in the midst of cleaning chaos, but I didn’t let him have it until we could get it on video; I wanted Tena, (the blog author and tug weaver), to see the dogs opening and playing with their prize.
Although Toby could care less about the camera, Meadow refused to play tug with Toby for more than a few moments once she realized she was being filmed, and Leah, (who normally tugs quite well with me), would not even take the toy while the video camera was in her presence. My senior was either feeling extremely camera shy, or she was still shell shocked from the beach, so I decided not to torture her by subjecting her to the horrors of being taped.
But we did get lots of video of Toby and a few shots of Meadow practicing self control and playing with their new tug. One thing I wanted to point out in the following tug video is how well Toby automatically sat while waiting an excruciating long time for me to take the tag off his new toy, and how well he waited for Meadow to finish her turn playing tug. I noticed that I accidentally dangled the toy right in front of his face during his patient down-stay, and he never even grabbed for it – which for Toby, is quite impressive. I know I often complain about his bad behaviors, but at other times, he is just such a good dog, and in this particular video, he really makes me proud. Nick was kind enough to keep my face out of most of the shots, (I despise being filmed), but unfortunately you can hear me quite well, so please just try to ignore my endless babble, and focus on the dogs instead:
Lastly, I wanted to mention that Walt is still looking for that special someone to provide a roof over his head while he undergoes his heartworm treatment….Are YOU that special someone?