So as you may or may not have read on my last post, it was Nic’s birthday on Saturday even though on Saturday morning I forgot because we were up very early and getting ready for a long drive.
We decided to do a bit of an adventure because an agility friend mentioned that it was whale-season where she lives, and neither of us had been there since we were young kids and also there was agility training and beach running to be had. Initially we were going to camp Friday night but we scrapped that idea after deciding it would be too much effort.
So we got up early on Saturday instead, shuffled the dogs into the car and set out on the 3.5 hour drive west.
We went straight to the beach, the 5 dogs meeting and getting their grumbles out before we hit the (deep, soft) sand. I always find it interesting to watch dog-pack dynamics. For example, when our pack is with Penny’s pack, Loki’s attention shifts from herding Lumen to watching and running with Badger, Lu and Pan spend a lot of time playing keepaway or Lu and Javelin go off roaming together, and Mal just hangs out. But they have an understanding. On the beach, Loki worked Lu, River worked Grace, and Mal just hung out. Our dogs all kept respectful distances from one another and refused to acknowledge that the other pack was there.
We saw whales!
Well… Like, the fin of a whale, and the blowing air/water of a whale and the blow-hole of a whale. And today we saw the same thing again, and basically the whale just looks like a floating log, but it was there. The ocean down that way is really cool – you’re walking along at the wave-line and it just drops so steeply downhill… sometimes the dogs would go down there when the wave had been sucked back out to sea and you’d worry that when the next one came in they’d be swimming and swept out because it’s so rough, but they’d seem to know where it was safe to go.
Then we went to the agility paddock and there were calves in the paddock next to it and the fence was only made of wires so I made the decision to not do anything off-lead with Lu just incase, but to play sequences with Loki (just for fun) and then do some self-control stuff with Lu. Well, Loki thought this was all very exciting and did a fantastic job on his little sequences – I have video, I’ll put it up tomorrow, and since he’s a Big Boy now and running his own sequences, he felt the need to SCREAM HIS LUNGS OUT when it was River’s time to have a turn. We did cik/toks and lap-turns and he is a very good puppy.
I took Lu to meet the calves and actually she was so much less interested than I thought, but while we were playing sequences 2 big cows came and visited and were running around and the calves were running around and that’s when she wouldn’t have coped. But we did hand-touches and played games and she looked at the calves calmly and then looked at me for a treat and in general was fantastic except if they ran, and then they were a bit much but we just moved away and tried again. Her focus, eagerness and attitude at the moment is just so much better than it’s ever been. It’s really lovely. And I’m seeing her make more and more good decisions at home, like if the cats are eating some food, in the kitchen, usually she would have told them off or barked at them, but I see her trying so hard now to be like: No, just, be quiet and calm, and you’ll get a treat… quiet… and calm… Oh God, it’s so hard, they’re eating something… quiet! calm!
And then she gets treats.
It’s really interesting to my brain right now how much I’m not like, frantic, about (agility) training Lu (or Loki, for that matter). I couldn’t train her yesterday and that was actually really ok, and I trained her once last week, and that’s ok too, and it’s going to be sunny this week so maybe there’ll be more trainings but if not, well, that’s cool, it’s all good. I like this attitude. It makes the training days really nice because I’m not hung up on a ‘result’ or fixing something or having to do something in particular. I hope this feeling stays even when she gets into masters because it’s actually kind of nice not caring so much.
Then we had dinner at Cam’s place and sat up late (PAST 10 O’CLOCK!!!!) talking about dogs and training and dog personalities and hard to motivate dogs and bitchy dogs. The next morning, Loki and Lu (and River) got to play in the backyard which is a big deal for them because our hard has so many steps and little retaining walls and stuff that it’s not safe for him to do zoomies with her out there while he’s still growing. Then we went to the beach again and saw more whales (well, more fins and more floating logs) but my camera was flat because I’d left it in the “on” position all night so it was very much “off” by the time I wanted to use it.