R and I continued our training program, designed to curb his obsessive behaviors, yesterday. One part is that I am teaching him some agility. Prior to now, K has been the only agility dog in the family because we worried that agility would be too tough on R's surgically repaired elbow. However, the vet suggested which parts of agility would be gentle enough for R's elbow and that learning agility might be a mentally stimulating activity for him that would help him to be less obsessive about other things, like water drinking.
We started with the teeter-totter last evening, using the method that I read about in Susan Garrett's book and which worked beautifully for K after traditional methods failed miserably with her. I propped both ends of the teeter totter so that it was almost level and tipped by only about 6" when R crossed the fulcrum. He looked cautious as he started.
I'm now using the weave poles to teach R to weave but I'll never let him run full tilt through the weaves. I think it would be too stressful for his elbow. However, the process of teaching R how to weave will be fun for him and me.
It's interesting teaching R the same skills as I've worked on for years with K. R's learning style suits my personality perfectly. He's almost never worried, nervous, or scared so it's OK to ask him to do scary things. He remains enthusiastic even if he fails repeatedly (although I try not to let that happen). He feels bomb-proof compared to K.
By comparison, K emotionally quits on me if she "fails" or is scared more than once in a training session. She taught me not to push her too hard in any kind of training. Each dog is a unique soul, and it's best to recognize their special traits.
Yesterday evening, R and I walked up to our sunset lookout point after training. For most of the walk, I played a game where I gave him a treat every time he initiated eye contact with me while we walked. The boy is a fast learner! His eyes were almost glued to mine by the end of the walk!
We paused briefly with the mountain horizon in the background.
This morning, K and I took one of our "business" walks, and lingered in the sunshine. She looked at me imploringly as if to say "Can't we explore, just a tiny bit?".
Aside from the distressing absence of signs of the lost dogs, I enjoyed the unseasonably warm, sunny, and gorgeous autumn day. Riding through some aspen groves was like entering a kaleidoscope of green and yellow speckles. I kept wishing that K could gallop along by my side. She would have loved it and I would have reveled in being with her.