Things have been moving right along here at LDB. Glacier and I have ben put through a few tests and yesterday was no exception.
We started the morning session with group obedience, which is usually a daily occurrence. The instructors put us through the obedience routine while bouncing balls around our dogs and D brought a fluffy, stuffed squirrel on a rope out and dangled it near the dogs. Glacier was pretty good until J hit the "play" button on a singing, dancing monkey dressed up in a leather jacket and bandanna. Glacier couldn't stay in a sit and kept letting out very loud, excited whines. I remember when we were here the first time Glacier being very excited by a singing fish. I don't know what it is about these kinds of things, but they make a well behaved, composed dog go nutty. :) It's something we'll have to work on when we get home. Anyone feel like going to the mall and playing with singing stuffed animals? :)
After our "monkey business," we were sent out on a very long route called the P route; simply because it is shaped like a capital P. There were birds and squirrels out in full force, but Glacier ignored them all and continued on as if nothing was going on. There were also yaping dogs, but after a verbal correction and a leash directional point, he moved on quickly. Driveways to an apartment complex served as a bit confusing for both Glacier and I. He thought they were street crossings and paused at the curbs, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. At least I would be able to judge whether or not it was safe to cross. We were also traffic checked twice on this route and Glacier stopped perfectly for both. The only problem is that I think Glacier recognised J in the van and was cautious whenever he saw him. I wanted Glacier to be surprised by the traffic check and react accordingly.
Upon returning to the training centre, I talked to Richard and let him know how our route went. I explained my concerns with the traffic checks and he told me that he would take care of it. I suspected he would be traffic checking us on our next route.
The second time out that morning we were allowed to "freelance," which means we are allowed to pick our route and go to wherever we wanted to. Two other students and I took the opportunity to head to a local coffee shop. I can't remember exactly how the other students got so far out in front of me, because I walk incredibly fast, but they were way far out ahead and Richard took the chance to zoom in front of Glacier and I. I had not heard him as he was driving a quiet car and I nearly had a heart attack. However, Glacier handled the situation like a champ. He stopped quickly and threw his weight backwards trying to stop me. We had a party after that traffic check and Richard said that it was "beautiful." After that it was smooth sailing for Glacier and I. At one point, one student went trotting out into traffic on Main Street and the other student almost went in after him, but he realised his mistake and was quickly back up on the sidewalk. We found the coffee shop and enjoyed a warm cup of coffee on a very chilly day.
The afternoon's work session was to a local park, with fearless ducks and squirrels as our distractions. Glacier was a bit of a crazy man at first, but settled into a nice controlled trot after a few verbal corrections and the dropped harness/verbal correction combination Richard and J have had me work on last week. About a quarter of the way into our walk though, it began to rain a cold rain. By the time we arrived back at the bus, the fat drops had soaked through my shoes and Glacier was a stinky, wet guy. J teased us about going again, but no one was getting off of the warm bus to try that again. :)
After human feed time last night, I took Glacier over to a fenced in, off leash area. He was so happy to get a chance to run that he took off like a shot after I released him from the "sit" I had put him in. He ran so fast that he was spraying gravel up behind him that kept hitting me. I also found a Kong that belongs in that area and we played with it for a while. Some time during our playing, it started raining/snowing again, so once Glacier had stopped racing around and his sniffing, we headed back in: my hands were frozen. It was about a ten minute leash free run, but it was enough to get some of Glacier's "beans out, as we like to say.
It was a very productive day and it definitely boosted my confidence in Glacier's abilities. We've worked in doubles twice now and been traffic checked quite aggressively and he has done fabulously. I think it is safe to say that Mr. G will be taking a plane ride on Friday, wearing his working gear. :) The next two days will be just polishing our work and making sure that our changes are sustainable. :)