Monday, April 12, 2010


Third day in a row of practice with new dogs, new places, new people. Vanya did fine with Jake, showing only a little stress whining, although he was reluctant to leave and very cautious about where he placed his feet on the trail, as if something was hurting him. He greeted a DNR worker very nicely, with polite sits and no inclination to jump. This particular DNR guy has American bulldogs, so whenever he sees Vanya he tells us all how gorgeous and well-behaved Vanya is. Vanya likes this. So do I.

Then we went to the village park, next to the lake--same place as yesterday. Today, a cloudy Monday, was much quieter, without people or dogs visible. So we just sniffed around, playing attention games, and then crossed the street to where the park is usually a lot busier. Vanya found a vole or mole hole in the rough grass, and he was transformed--from looking obedient but slightly uneasy and tense, to being a joyful terrier merrily trying to dig out a rodent. I let him dig for quite a while (he was blissful, seeming to completely forget that he was in a novel environment), and then we tracked the scent trail of what I assume was the same rodent. What a happy dog! The transformation was wonderful to see, and I hope we can keep finding opportunities to dig up rodents and track their scents when we go to the park. I should lay a scent track before I let Vanya out of the car, and then have him track it, to see if that helps him relax in the new places. Hmmm--dragging a hunk of stinky salmon may let me lay a track that keeps him absorbed and helps him settle into new spaces. An idea!

Then, after he tracked in the park, we went back to see Jake the Mellow Lab, and Vanya was fine--reluctant to leave, again, even though he wasn't interacting with Jake, just sniffing around the other dog's kennel quite a bit. I tried to incorporate a bit of BAT, perhaps with a little success, following the wonderful diagram in Boogie the Boston Terrier's blog.

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