First things first: Happy Easter! Easter is one of my favorite holidays because it’s one of the first big celebrations of Spring, and because it holds extreme religious significance for me and my family.
Whew. So far I’ve made it through A-G in the A to Z challenge, and I’ve posted everyday (except one over-sleeping mishap) since April began to fulfill my Ultimate Blog Challenge. You can check out my post thus far in the A-Z Series by reading:
- A is for Alphabet Challenges, American Shepherds, Alsatian Shepherds, and More!
- B is for Built-Ins for Pet-Friendly Homes
- C is for…Cautious Car Rides for Arie
- Deciding to Get a Dog: The Do’s and Dont’s of Adding a Pet to Your Family
- Ears: Caring For Your Dog’s Ears and Discussing Arie’s Best Feature!
- F is for Fleas, Facebook, Farm life, and Failure
- Grain Free Diets: The Way to Happiness for Dogs with Allergies
Needless to say, I’m a little tired, and was glad to have a nice, relaxing lazy day. I had planned to drive back to SC, but ended up spending Easter in Atlanta.
Today I started a new initiative with Arie–trying to exhaust my dog on a daily basis. I’ve noticed that on days when I really give Arie a true workout, she’s much more laid back–helping with the issues we’ve had in the past with other dogs. Instead of her usual walks and potty breaks during the day, I’m going to add in running/walking the trail near our apartment with her twice a day to really get her tuckered out. Perhaps with a little bit more regular exercise, she’ll be a much more enjoyable companion for my neighbors, so that they can see the true sweetheart that I know and love inside and outside of the apartment.
One thing I hate about long walks: Trying to carry everything I need. I need 1) my cell phone in case of emergencies, 2) treats for Arie, 3) My keys, 4) my gate card for my apartment community, 5) Arie. This means that, in my hands and pockets, I have several items that require my attention and space. The ladies out there know how problematic this can be, as the pockets in women’s pants were apparently made for either women with no thigh definition at all or were not made to hold much of anything. Out of personal frustration and a hatred of fanny packs or most products of the sort, I made my own impromptu treat/keys bag, my second dog-centric sewing project:
I had a spare patch of wonky shaped fabric in this cute red and white polka dot pattern, so i trimmed it into a some-what decent rectangle. I then folded about a quarter of an inch over and each end and sewed them to form a smooth edge to avoid fraying. Then, I folded the fabric in half, inside out, and sewed the seams to make my little square.
Now, I needed it to be able to adhere to my belt loop on my jeans. I took the remaining strip of fabric and sewed a little strip of fabric–I sewed one end to the backside of the pouch, leaving space between the seams for a little loop of my own. To hook it my belt loop, I just loop the remaining part of the strip through my belt loop, then through the loop on the pouch, and tie a little knot or bow. Now, to add the treats.
These treats contain salmon which is great for Arie’s coat, and they’re also small enough for great training treats. We can do consistent training throughout her walk without me having to break the treats.
I didn’t want the moisture of the treats to get all over my keys or to absorb into my newly made treat bag, so I put these tiny morsels into a plastic treat back that I received in a gift pack at an event—the treat that had been inside was laden with food coloring, and so not something I would give Arie, so I tossed that cookie away, trimmed the bag down, and used it as moisture defense.
With the treats, keys, gate card, phone, etc. stashed in my new handy bag or a pocket and Arie safely on her leash, we were on our way. We took a long walk around the trail several times. Throughout the walk, we practiced the “Look at me” command; this command requires that Arie stop whatever she’s doing and look me in the eye. If she masters this command, it will be much easier to distract her from enticing situations with other dogs, squirrels, etc, and will have her looking to me for direction. We also spontaneously practiced her usual commands, like “sit” and “lay down” to test her recall. We definitely have some room to improve on recall in a stimulus rich environment, so we’ll keep practicing. After we got home, Arie drank a little water and then settled into her favorite post-walk spot, the tiles by the front door. There’s nothing like cold tiles on the belly after a summer walk.
Perhaps after we get over the hump of her training challenges now we’ll be able to move into agility training. What do you do to exhaust your dog?