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May 30, 2008

This week, most of our training happened during our regular 3-mile jaunts in the morning. I noticed a couple of interesting things.

Wednesday, Lilly and I saw a neighbor headed to get his paper at the end of his long driveway. It’s been a fairly wet spring, so the pasture grasses are getting pretty high. That means, I didn’t see the puppy with him for quite some time, but indeed, out popped a large, big-footed, goofy baby Lab running around off leash.

Typically, Lilly is good with pups. But, this one was big-ish (nearly half Lilly’s size at just 2 months old) and very persistent (chewing, pawing, climbing). So, Lilly gave a measured but quiet showing of the teeth. This baby dog (her name is Josie) did NOT get the hint, so Lilly used her voice and air snapped a couple times.

So, I put Lilly back into working mode since my lame “Be gentle. That’s a baby.” wasn’t working. Then, she was fine. I gave her distance and something to do (SIT-STAY), while I smooched on the puppy a bit. Honestly, who can resist those baby Lab faces?

As we moved along on our walk, Josie wanted to follow (Hey, that lady has FOOD!), but we just kept going, and she eventually turned back and went home with her dad.

Thursday, our neighbor Katy joined us. Since we were chatting, Lilly decided that pulling and having poor leash manners was OK. Ummm…. Mama thinks not. So, I had to stop and put her into WALK STEADY mode (loose leash walking) a few times since I only ask for a true HEEL if I can really focus on her.

Even with Katy providing a barrier between Lilly and two fenced-but-barking dogs, Lilly decided that a barking/lunging display was necessary. So, we crossed over the road to give her more space. I asked for a relaxed DOWN, which I only partially got, but the extra distance made the other dogs stop barking at us, so we were fine after that.

So, like a couple of sailors on shore leave, Lilly and I weaved our way up the road and back, crossing back and forth as necessary to avoid the various triggers on our route. It’s not relaxing per se, but we keep up a steady pace, get some fresh air, some exercise, and we sometimes even bond just a bit along the way.

Excitement alert! Tomorrow we have a training date with our aussie pal Pitsch and his mom Betsy. They’ve been super busy, so we haven’t gotten together for a couple months. So, stay tuned next week for tale of our junkyard-style training pen and other adventures when we once again team up Pitsch (who thinks every dog is his BEST friend) and Lilly (who thinks every dog is a scary MENACE). There might even be video.

For those catching up, here’s a photo from their last training date. (P.S. Pitsch has a girlfriend, so Lilly’s just his buddy!) Isn’t he handsome, though? I love the tri-coloring!

stuff from May 31 003


About the Author Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related.

I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

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