September 8, 2009

that kind of dayA Nice Direction to Go!

We encounter a lot of people on our walks, humans who comment on our appearance, the number of dogs in our pack, or the quality of the weather. Today we had a man ask, “Where are you headed?” and for a moment, Gretchen and I were stumped.

“Just on a walk,” Gretchen said finally, to which the man responded, “A nice direction to go!”

I never thought of it that way, but I suppose most people don’t get to do what we get to do day in and day out — just head out on a walk.

Okay, so it’s not that easy.  Every dog requires retrieval where Gretchen or the both of us must travel to their house (usually by foot), leash up the client, and head out on the walk. Then we must return said dog and march off to the next destination.  Today there were only three dogs and luckily for us, though mostly for Gretchen, they were all within a three-block radius of each other.

First up? Rosie. Gretchen walks Rosie all by herself except occasionally on Fridays and soon to be Mondays when they walk with Rosie’s brother, Tyson.  Rosie is kind of dog shy, meaning that she gets kind of nervous around strange dogs though Gretchen hasn’t really seen that part yet, so for now it’s just the two of them taking the walk.

Today, Rosie got the obligatory photograph at the tractor at Bradner Gardens.

rosie tractorstill Rosie

Gretchen took some other photos, but they turned out kind of fuzzy. Tomorrow they’ll find another place for a Rosie photo shoot so we can add some variety to her portfolio.

On the way down the hill from Bradner Gardens, Rosie smelled something very delicious. She almost pulled Gretchen into a bush trying to get a whiff, but Gretchen got Rosie moving back down the hill.

Ironically, though, she walked Bella up there right after Rosie and Bella did the exact same thing at the exact same spot. When Gretchen checked it out, she didn’t see (or smell) anything, but clearly it was one of those interesting spots only dogs can appreciate.ear flop

Gretchen and Bella headed down from the interesting smell to the big field by the museum and there Gretchen attached a couple of leashes to Bella’s leash and they ran up and down the field so Bella could really stretch her legs.

Then Gretchen pulled out the ball and Bella had a fun time chewing it, throwing it in the air, kicking it with her feet, and rolling around with it.

She got pretty silly with the whole thing, didn’t she?

orange ballyeehaw!

Eventually Bella settled down and Gretchen worked on a new command, one that she hopes will help Bella focus more.

settling down

It’s a command Gretchen teaches all the dogs we walk and it’s called the “look” command. I won’t go into details, but it basically means that when Gretchen says “look” we need to look at her for as long as she wants. She starts out in short bursts with all dogs, but especially the puppies like Bella. Rosie learned the command today too and she really liked it! Mostly, I think, because it involved a treat.

Once Bella had her training and running session, she came back to our house for a short game of romp and then Gretchen and I walked Bella home.

romp time

We moseyed on down the street and picked up the other puppy, Saber who is the same color as Bella, but not the same dog at all. He’s a lab and let me tell you, he picked up the look command even before Gretchen taught it to him!

viewpointsviewpoint2

Here we are at the Mt. Baker viewpoint overlooking the city. Gretchen attached Saber’s leash to the stone bench and I was put in a sit/stay (something I’m very good at). Then she said, “look” and we obeyed! Of course, a treat always follows the command so that helps us both focus.

But Saber has the “look” command down, let me tell you, as Gretchen tried it again at the tractor and then at the park while we were playing. Look at how well that boy obeys!

tractor shotat the park

Ironically, on the way down from the tractor, Saber smelled the exact same spot as Bella and Rosie did before him. Well, that sure made me interested so I smelled it too. Not sure what it was, but it was very smelly!

Saber got some extra long attention today because we didn’t have too much work. We went on a long walk and then played some at the park.

racing

Finally, we both just laid down and rested in the shade of a tree while Gretchen attempted to capture us in all of our cuteness.  But every time Gretchen squatted down to take the photo, Saber would get up and inch closer. Eventually, though, she got the shot!

upfinally

I guess the next command we’ll teach him will be stay!  That’s one I’m pretty good at if I do say so myself!

Until tomorrow,

Rubin

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