Monday, 16 February 2015

About turn..

What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon in February?!

Sunshine, our beautiful Kent countryside, fresh, crisp air. Perfect.

Polly loved her visit to White Horse Country Park yesterday.

The area undulates, so walking was steep in places but downhill was fun ... I think Polly surprised even herself on the descent during one very enthusiastic recall, when she failed to engage her brakes early enough!

I love quiet walks in areas like this, when Polly can go off lead to explore without me having to worry about other dogs and their owners.  Poll's always at her most responsive and relaxed on these days.

How I'd love to live somewhere where our walks could always be so relaxed! 

We live in an area heavily populated with dog walkers, so quiet time is precious.  Despite working hard to train a 'U-turn' and 'watch' command with clicker, treats and general encouragement, if she's on her lead, Polly still isn't always comfortable with other dogs appearing head-on along the narrow lane we usually walk along to reach our local woods and fields.  At the moment, if another dog is walking along the lane, our U-turn requires a reasonable distance to put into effective use - we need to see the dog ahead to give us time to act quickly if I think it may be necessary to change direction.  Unfortunately a couple of unrestrained dogs rounded a blind corner recently, sparking Poll's insecurity (or maybe protective instinct?) and resulting in unwelcome barking/lunging, which is a new behaviour for Polly ... (note to self: even though she didn't react adversely on our walk with Autumn last week - see previous post - could this be a copycat behaviour?) Needless to say, this incident has made me a bit wary of meeting dogs unexpectedly along the lane at present, so I'm going to alter our weekday route for a few days, to give us both a chance to regain our inner 'on lead' calm again!

It seems that no sooner do you achieve success in one aspect of dog training (for us, I'm pleased to say off lead recall on our walks is now providing an opportunity for some lovely fun time together), something else then pops up to test your understanding of one another!

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