Thursday, March 12, 2015

Whistle for the Doggie

Yesterday was supposed to be warm and sunny.  Instead, it was gray, foggy and not too cold.  Isaac and I headed out to our favorite local park anyway.

We hadn't been able to go to this park in at least a month, due to all the snow.  They don't plow the parking lot and I got stuck one day trying to get my car in despite the snow.  But most of the snow has melted here, finally.   There's been so much snow melting that the ground is wet as a saturated sponge.  It is beyond muddy, more like a swamp.  But we can now get in the  parking lot.

So we went to the park.  I had been working with Isaac on his recall with this whistle, since he has long since decided that when I yell "come here" that means, "come on over this way when you feel like it, please."  He will come immediately to the sound of the whistle at home, with no distractions.  We hadn't had the opportunity to work on it much outside, which is where I really need him to have good recall, because of the weather and stuff.  But I decided to give it a try yesterday and to my surprise, he came almost every time I blew the whistle.

To be exactly, at the park with a moderate level of distraction (no other dogs or people or deer he wanted to chase, but lots of interesting things to sniff and explore), he came promptly eight out of 10 times, when I blew the whistle.

We went back to the park today.  I forgot to bring dog treats, which I realized after we were already on our way.  So I decided to swing through the drive thru at McDonald's and pick up a small order of chicken nuggets.  I thought things would go even better with a high value treat like chicken.

Well, I can't say it went better, although it still went really well, and Isaac was very pleased with his nuggets.  He came promptly nine out of 12 times.  The other three, when I really he was not paying attention, I waited a minute or so, then tried again, and he did come then.  One of the times, I realized after I'd already blown the whistle that he was looking for a place to poop.  Apparently pooping is more important than running to me for a bite of chicken nugget.  When he was finished, he did come running.

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