Thursday, April 21, 2011

Retraining Day 10: Working Hard

Wednesday morning started off rainy and cold. We loaded up in the buses and headed to a residential  area that was supposed to be full of barking dog distractions. It also had long blocks and off set curbs at street crossings to challenge the handlers and the dogs as well. Glacier and I only completed the circuit once as the weather  was gross and my feet got soaked again. Glacier's work on the off centred curbs was great and I never once questioned his line of travel. We did have one small incident at the beginning of the route though that was completely not work related.
Along our first block there were several barking dogs, some of whom were jumping on their respective fence doors. Upon reaching the first curb, Glacier started acting strangely, twisting around in his harness and kind of walking sideways. I had no idea what was going on until Richard pulled up and said very calmly,
"take my arm." I did a little worried that Glacier and I had done something wrong, but realised quickly that there were two dogs following us with their hackles up. Richard shepherded them back to their home and knocked on the door, waking up the sleeping owner. Apparently she was nice enough and put the dogs back in the yard. It made me a bit nervous as Glacier and I have been attacked once already and even though it wasn't too bad, that sort of thing makes me a little jumpy.
In the afternoon we boarded the buses again and headed out to another little city in order to work through its main streets. The traffic was much heavier here than at the down town centre and we had a lot of street crossings, obstacles and distractions to work through. Glacier and I worked in doubles with another student and his Golden Retriever Rex. Both dogs did great and we were rewarded by stopping off at Starbucks and waiting for our trainer to come and bring us back to the van. They figured sitting in a coffee shop was much better than cramming on to a vehicle and waiting a few hours while everyone else got their work in.
Both dogs were excellent in Starbucks. We were seated near the door and so were bombarded by the other customers coming and going, but neither yellow fellow got up. The group from Spain also made their way in and Glacier stayed in his "down" at my side even when one of their Golden Retrievers Ivy was sniffing his head.
When it was our turn to return to the van, the apprentice came to get us and warned us that there was a dog tied up to a parking metre. She didn't think it would be a problem, but when Glacier and I approached it, the dog lunged at us and snapped at Glacier. Mr. G being the big "happy go lucky" guy that he is, just carried on untouched and probably not caring. That too made me a bit jumpy. A, who was our instructor the first time through the  program, told the apprentice that she had the Spanish students go the opposite direction to avoid the dog. She thought it looked aggressive. Regardless, we got back unscathed and got a lot of good work in.
Glacier was confident in his harness and guided me carefully around obstacles. He didn't forget to pay attention to me, or be responsible for me even though we were working with someone else. His street crossings were perfect and he behaved himself very well in the coffee shop. The more I work with him, the more I know that we'll  be fine. We may go through a phase of sorts once we get to Scotland, but I have tools now to deal with situations and I think that Glacier and I will be a strong team for many years to come. :)

1 comment:

Frankie Furter said...

You are now TRULY a confident TEAM. THAT is wonderful.