Wednesday, 6 November 2013

A field for all seasons

One of our favourite local walks is 'round the field', which, although we live on the outskirts of a town, is only a couple of minutes walk from our house.  Ancient bluebell woods line one side of the field and pear orchards the other, so there's always plenty to see as the seasons change.

This was our field on Monday, such a beautiful November morning!

We practiced walking to heel part way round the field.  Polly loves walking here, but definitely prefers the freedom her retractable lead offers and who can blame her?!  Nonetheless, she walked beautifully on her red lead, until we spotted another dog on the other side of the field, at which point she did her usual plonk down on her belly trick, refusing to budge.  I instructed, cajoled and lured with treats, but with no luck ... as far as my stubborn miss was concerned, she was staying firmly plonked in the mud until the dog in the distance caught us up to say hello.  There was nothing else for it, either wait ages for the other dog to catch us up, or give a firm 'no' and lift Polly to her feet by her harness, which she of course resented and resisted.  I wish I knew how to teach Polly not to plonk whenever she spots another dog on the lead as I am frustrated by this behaviour, particularly when she is so responsive in most other circumstances.  If you have any suggestions to help us, I'd be grateful to hear them, thank you!

Part of the fun walking round the field is that it never looks the same.  In October it had been recently ploughed, so was very muddy and lots of fun to squelch round in my wellies!

As our pup matured through the summer months, she enjoyed a romp round her glorious rape filled, field of sunshine.  

The tall rape provided clearly defined pathways around the edge of the field, so we felt confident to let her 'off lead' to practise recall and also to jog with Stuart. (Several months later and as those of you who read regularly will know, we're still working hard to build Polly's recall response ... her jogging is pretty good now though!  I thought we had the recall cracked when Polly was little, but as she grew both in size and confidence, she began to find other dogs overwhelmingly exciting, so coming back to us when called slipped well down her list of priorities, grrrr!)

I'm guessing it won't be much longer before Polly experiences her first winter snow on this field ... I'm looking forward to seeing what she makes of that!

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