January 19, 2009

Winter Walk

Yesterday morning we woke up to more snow and, thankfully, somewhat warmer temperatures. After zero degrees, 32 feels downright balmy. Kate loves the snow, and she couldn't wait to go for a walk. Thinking I might get some nice photos, I grabbed my camera and we set out.

Kate and I have a pretty regular morning route around our neighborhood and over to school. Once we turned the corner, Kate noticed a couple of corgis walking their person.

One of our walking games (that I learned from Control Unleashed) is that when Kate "finds" a dog, she gets a treat. It's a strategy that allows her to look at other dogs, but instead of barking at them, she looks at me for a treat.

Kate is a dog of routines and a dog who keeps track of things, and she'll sometimes bark at dogs she doesn't know. It's not so unusual--especially for herding dogs who can be vocal and who are predisposed to pay careful attention to who's where in their flock (Kate's part collie). But it's not a habit I want to encourage around other dogs, so instead her "job" is to find dogs and check in with me for her reward. I used to ask her to focus on me first, but getting a look at the other dog actually works better. And she can look more than once. The point is that she "checks in" between looks.

Another walking game is that we only move forward when the leash is loose. I hate it when I see people dragging their dogs around by yanking on the leash. I don't want Kate to pull--obviously--but I also try to avoid pulling too. If Kate does pull, I stop, or walk in another direction. It's a zen thing. To get what she wants, she has to keep a loose leash. Here she wanted to sniff this particular spot (probably some pee-mail), but to get to the spot, she had to walk there calmly.

This wall is one of Kate's favorite sniffing spots. I thought it looked really pretty covered in snow. That's New Jersey off in the distance.

By this point, we're just a few blocks from campus and Kate's favorite part of our route because she gets to run around off leash. It was too snowy to throw a ball, so she just enjoyed messing around in the snow. Here she is demonstrating her excellent recall skills. Who's a good dog?!


Anonymous said...

In that first pic, K is DEFINITELY smiling. How sweet! We are expecting our first inch of snow this winter tonight/tomorrow! Darn...was hoping to slide by without any this year!

Anonymous said...

Uh, when are you going to post again????cmr