Tuesday, July 22, 2008

More Bikejor and Other Training

I've been trying to bikejor with the dogs every other day or day and a half, with free runs on the off days. We've had some serious heat the past few days, so I've only been free-running them at a local dog park, nearly every day. Sage gets in a good bit of swimming there, as well. I think they were in pretty good shape to begin with, but I can certainly see an improvement in toughness of their pads.

The dog park also offers me an opportunity for some reminders on the virtues of "whoa." I like my dogs to think that "whoa" means "birds." So, as they're careening off the terraces hunting the thicker grass, if I see a robin or meadowlark in the grass ahead I'll whoa one or both. He or they will stop with their noses in the air trying to pick up the bird. Usually after a moment they'll catch the bird moving in the grass. I'll walk in and flush the bird. I let them find plenty on their own, as well, but they don't let them get too close, so the way it usually works is they'll wind them from a ways off, stop, and scan ahead for the bird. I like that it's making my older dog more cautious, because he's been kind of a all-or-nothing hard charging kind of bird dog.

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