Friday, March 18, 2016

Ptera's First Off Leash Hike

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View of Mary's Peak from the top of Bald Hill

Ptera has officially been here for a week. And she has learned so much in that time! Mostly we have been working on the basics- potty training, crate training, and recall. Well, the weather cleared up yesterday, giving us a chance to take a hike up Bald Hill, and it was a great opportunity to get in some recall practice for Ptera.

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Getting some running in down the trail

I've been spending a lot of time on our walks saying Ptera's name and giving her a treat when she responds- and only saying her name if I m 99% positive she will respond. So for our hike, I put her on a drag line (a 10 foot long lightweight cord with a knot in the end) and practiced off leash recalls from a much greater distance.

Lets just say I am really happy with where we are with her recall right now!

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Both dogs coming back when called

Something else Ptera needs work on, which isn't really a training thing, is building muscle. I don't think she really did much other than hang out in the house at her former home, and her total lack of muscle supports that theory. So I have been working on getting her active and moving with an end goal of building muscle and endurance.

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The adorable seriousness of a recall

Ptera is only 6 months old right now, so I don't want to overdo things with her. At the same time, though, her bones and muscles and tendons need to move and be worked and have her do stuff for them to develop properly. So we have been going on lots of walks. I want to build her endurance without overdoing it- I don't want to build up to where she needs a 10 mile walk to chill out! But I do want her fit to the point where she can run flyball all weekend successfully by the time she is competing (dogs must be 1 year old to compete in flyball, and she likely won't compete right when she hits her birthday, because there really isn't any rush).

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Exploring the woods- I don't think she's ever been on a hike before

Leash walks on local streets, down to the local park, and just around town in general are helping build her leash skills (she wasn't leash trained as of last Friday when I picked her up). They are also helping with building confidence, exposing her to new things in a way that I make sure is positive, and of course, helping build some muscle and fitness.

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Koira and her mini me

But really, I prefer to hike my dogs off leash whenever possible. I feel like they just get so much more out of it if they are able to be off leash, smell the smells, check things out, jump over logs, and generally just explore, so long as they are within sight and listening to me if I call them. For that, recall is absolutely required. But I think we're getting it. I'm not ready to take Ptera's drag line off yet, but for a dog I've only had for a week, I am so beyond pleased with where she is in her recall training right now.

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  1. She's a cutie - and doing so well with her recalls - impressive.

  2. You're doing amazing with her! Love the drag line - I've used a 20ft long line when Nola was still working on recall, but never thought to use it as a drag line. I'll file that away for later!

  3. Such a cutie. We were off leash most of the time in Germany, but here it is just too dangerous with too many cars and being two hounds, our recall isn't good enough if we find something we want to track. Awesome job!

  4. What a cutie :) Looks like she doing pawesome with her recalls :) Milo & Jet