|Kaline at 16 weeks!|
Which leads ever so nicely into what I wanted to write about, training opportunities! I try (unfortunately I don't always succeed!) to view pretty much everything that happens as a training opportunity. It's a lot easier to do when I am carrying my bait bag, so I've been putting that on pretty much every time we go outside. It really helps to see the world in general in a more positive way.
I actually got excited today when I was out with a four-pack in Palo Alto, and saw a woman coming along the sidewalk with what looked like two Chow mixes (or full Chows, I don't know). Clearly they were walking her, and they were staring daggers at my dogs. She saw my dogs and took an extra few wraps of leash around each of her hands.
Practically grinning with delight, I sidled my four off the main part of the sidewalk and right up next to a store's front window. I was ready with the bait bag, all four were maintaining excellent eye contact, and I was just thinking, YES! We are going to have a great reinforcement of how we don't interact with this kind of energy!
Then I realized I'd been standing there for much longer than it should've taken for the dogs to pass us. They'd crossed the street. Drat.
It's so confidence-building to see everything as an opportunity to reinforce what you want from your dog(s). I get happy when we come across barking dogs in cars or behind fences, skateboards on the sidewalk, hissing garbage trucks, creaking buses (or is it busses?), or people using various potentially scary (to dogs) mobility aids. Instead of seeing these things as things to avoid and protect the dogs from, I can see them as a chance to show them how I want them to react—and to show them that when such scary things happen, they're not actually scary, because they mean cookies.
A side note: You may remember that Juno and I won a super-awesome tag from Jen and Elka! Well, I finally got around to doing a wee photoshoot with Juno today. If you like one of the photos more than the others, let me know! I'll probably choose one for the custom tag by Wednesday or Thursday. And yes, the tag will be going on the wide 2HoundsDesigns collar Juno is wearing in the photos.
Some of the photoshoot contenders: