Spring has Sprung

This past week has been gorgeous here in the Mississippi valley. Mark Twain once described the area as being one of the most beautiful places that he had ever traveled. We experienced our first thunderstorm of the year last night and it was a phenomenal show of lightening and cracks. I am grateful that my pets seem un-phased by such storms. Storm phobia can be difficult to manage and very stressful for animals and their human companions.

On Tuesday, I visited Babe, now renamed Bella, at her home with her new mom. We went on a lovely hike together where Bella ran full tilt, tripping over branches and in holes, but would jump right back up and start running again! After expending some energy, she and I worked on the “Leave it” cue. This video is taken after a few minutes of us working together on it. I would toss a treat or her toy out of range, she would attempt to get in and when she couldn’t would refocus on me, giving me her auto-sit and then I would reward her with a yummy treat. After a few repetitions, I added the cue “Leave it” and repeated the same steps.

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It was lovely spending time with the little peanut and seeing her growth, both physically and mentally, in just a few short days. We will continue to work together and keep up with updates!

Chance and I are getting a little bit of fame, or at least, our photo is! A picture that was taken of us during the Sophia Yin seminar was posted on Sophia’s last blog post, Circus School for Dogs Recap. The same photo was used in a blog post done by HAWS (Humane Animal Welfare Society) that hosted the two day seminar. Chance was learning to go through a hoop by use of shaping and approximations using Positive Reinforcement (R+). It took him only a few short minutes to learn this new behavior. He loved it and by the end of the day he was completely exhausted from having his brain worked throughout the day!

On Wednesday, it was time to visit the horses and do some spring cleaning. I love seeing the horses shed their fuzzy winter coats. Underneath is a glossy, smooth finish that invites you run your hands across it. For the next week I plan to make several trips back to farm in preparation for the vet that will be coming to do annual vaccinations. Cajun, the bay mare, is not keen about the vet or being poked and prodded. So it’s back to the clicker basics with her. Counter conditioning and desensitizing her to the presence of syringes and having her neck pinched. She did well for her first spring session after being hands off with people for the winter months.

Here are Buster (sorrel gelding), Cajun (bay mare) & Chance (sorrel gelding-old man)

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While brushing the horses in their pasture, Buster, the “I act like I’m a two year old, even though I’m 18”, went and tipped my tack bag upside down and shook all the contents out of it! Naughty boy. But it’s enrichment I guess. Here we are taking some smiling pictures. Unfortunatley my arms weren’t long enough to capture it all in one photo.

On the walk back to car I found an open robin’s egg, a very true sign Spring has Sprung! Lastly, my two hounds and my guest dog were happily loaded into the Pathfinder for their journey back home. A tired dog is a happy dog and these three were dog tired after their romp in the pasture!