As I haven't had much time to post recently, here's a little summary of how we've been getting along lately ...
Polly loves to walk with family and this year we have been able to walk for the first time with my little Grandson tucked into a sling, which was lovely!
As Polly is now very reliable at coming back to me, she enjoys plenty of off lead fun on our walks and of course, being a goldie, that usually means finding muddy puddles whenever possible.
This Spring, we've loved our bluebell walks and even walked through a field of sheep and their lambs at Hucking Woods - on lead, of course. Polly wasn't particularly interested in the sheep, but getting her to leave their dollops of poo was a bit of a struggle, urgh yuk!
We took her to Riverside Country Park in Gillingham a couple of weeks ago and she had so much fun playing in the water. Also did her first official sea swim and retrieve - not quite the stick that was thrown, but seaweed made a fair substitute!
And on our visit to Emmetts Garden in Sevenoaks, Polly behaved beautifully on her lead as we mooched through the beautiful formal gardens, then had a whale of a time running through local woods to Toys Hill and full circle back to Emmetts Garden, in the pouring rain.
At home, we walk through our local woods, field and orchard a couple of times each day and Polly loves to say hi to all the dogs she meets. Happily her greetings have calmed down and she can now meet and pass dogs along the lane without leaping excitedly at them. She is still wary of dogs approaching along narrow lanes if they are coming head-on or up from behind her off lead; she sometimes deals with this by lunging (not at all dogs, some bug her, others don't!) so if I have time, we try to take swift diversionary action to avoid the situation arising. If there's no time to turn away, I keep my clicker in my pocket ready to click and treat a sit/stay or down/stay. Most times that works pretty well, with Polly looking to me to guide her through the situation.
I can't say Polly is perfect in obedience terms (does that ever quite happen?!) but she is doing pretty well. We still train daily and attend obedience classes weekly, but she's certainly no obedience robot! For example, madam loves to chase crows off the farmer's field if she has the opportunity and recently broke her sit/stay to do just that on the obedience training field ... splat in the middle of a heel work class! Also, on routes we know very well, it can take two or three calls/whistles for her to return to me if she's particularly 'busy' ... but she does at least always return within a moment or two and these days, also checks regularly to see where I am going, racing back towards me if she thinks I'm taking an unexpected turn - needless to say, I take plenty of unexpected turns! ;-)
At home Polly's pretty darn perfect. A little on the barky side in the garden but our house backs onto a lane, so I guess that's to be expected - we're working on it and she is beginning to understand she needs to stop the racket when I tell her, thankfully! Indoors she's as good as gold and I have absolutely nothing naughty to report, unless you count a few enthusiastic licks when her much-loved Auntie Fo visits, but sloppy kisses aside, I honestly can't fault her.