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Friday, April 24, 2009

Spring Training

Spring is here! For a switch from all our indoor work, I've taken Taxi on a couple walks this week on hike & bike trails nearby. It's a great place to work on dog distraction...smell distraction...squirrel distraction...children distraction...anyone noticing a theme yet? All this great outdoors business is incredibly exciting to Taxi. So we start out with the "pushups" game, which helps him give me his focus. He'll do almost anything for food!

...And on to our walk. Doesn't he look happy?

On Tuesday, we met up with Michelle for a training walk at Cabela's. That's almost as good as being outside...all those animals everywhere! The first stop was the aquarium. Taxi seemed to enjoy watching the big fish float by.

Then we visited some other displays. This African savannah exhibit freaked out poor Taxi boy. I'm not sure if he was afraid of the animals, or just worried he'd end up as a piece of "Taxi"-dermy.

As a reward for surviving Africa, look who was waiting for us upstairs! Puppy raiser Tracy Schagen was there with her swap puppy, "Zeke," demonstrating a very nice "down-stay." He and Taxi are buddies already, so it was tough for them trying not to play, but I thought they behaved well.

The gallery had a howling coyote...Taxi found that quite interesting! There was also a talking deer head above the door just outside and we were all proud of Taxi for looking up to try and see what was making that noise. Since guide dogs have to be alert for overhead obstacles, it's always nice to see them scanning above as well as below.

In another display area, Michelle found this trophy duster that looked eerily like a squirrel tail. She used it to help the dogs practice "leave it." Taxi would be real still for a while, then when he figured my guard was down -- bam! -- he'd make a lunge for it. I learned quickly to brace myself against the rail. He did settle down eventually. Zeke did so well that by the end Michelle was able to touch him with the duster while he lay nicely on a loose lead. I can't say that Taxi got quite that far, but hey, he's younger...that's my excuse, anyway! It was good training for the dogs, although funny to watch!

Meanwhile, Dakota looks as if he's having so much fun that I don't know whether he'll ever want to come home! The Reimers, who have him during the puppy swap, raised the first GDTx labradoodle, Mason (now in his advanced training). They've had Mason over for a couple of weekends, so Duckie has gotten a lot of playtime in.

...And here's a picture of all three GDTx labradoodles: Dakota, Mason, and Trixie. What a great group! Really gives you a good idea of the size range labradoodles come in, too. Thanks to Dixie Moore of Dixie's Doodles...and to Mary for the pictures!

1 comment:

howard said...

wow! everything looks great! nice photos! any chance you've seen this article : zootoo’s shelter makeover?