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Friday, April 26, 2013

Springtime and R's training

For now, it is springtime. Bears are roaming our forests, hummingbirds are buzzing high overhead, and the Pasqueflowers are opening up to the sunshine.
Shyla and I were out early, with me riding atop the crust of the snow in the sub-freezing temperatures of the very early morning. Amazingly, in sunny spots, the snow has already completely melted down to dirt. In the forest, however, there is still deep snow.

We saw the sun rise, and it cast a reddish light on Shyla.
And, we loved each other's company.
After our ride, I spent some time training the black cracker dog. This photo shows R's serene side.
The serenity flees when we start our training. R absolutely adores our training time. That's what positive training does - it creates dogs who view training time as one of the best times of the day.
We are working on a wave, with R's left paw. He had elbow dysplasia surgery as a puppy, and this movement is great for maintaining his range of motion and muscle strength around the weakened elbow. He has definitely learned this trick! However, it's tough to photograph it well because he always twists slightly away from me as he waves.
You'll notice that R's mouth is open in the photo above. The reason is that, in typical R cracker dog style, he's modified the trick to suit him. Presently, he barks every time he waves.

And sometimes he barks when he's not waving out of pure joy for life!
Barking in sync with waving should be an easy habit to break (it just started today). Tomorrow, I'll reward only the waves when he doesn't bark. For today, I just laughed along with him every time he barked. I love his enthusiasm!

I think that R will be back to running and romping pretty soon. I've been stretching his elbow through its range of motion a couple of times every day, and we're giving him regular glucosamine injections. We haven't seen him limp in a whole week. Good news!


  1. Hi R! We're waving and singing back!

    Bart, Ruby and Otto

  2. Healing purrs for R. We thinks barking in time to your waves would be ideal.

  3. That's the Cracker R MOM and I love. I like the bark with the wave. hehhe.
    Hope your spring keeps springing.

  4. You have such a pretty spring! We go from 8 months of summer, 2 months of fall, a month of winter and less than a month of real spring. It's already over 80 degrees here.

    I love that first photo of R!

  5. I just love that R guy period. Waving, woofing, wrassling, he is all the same to me. He will probably always add some quirk onto everything you teach him. Whatta character!

    Coming up 50s and 60s, wahoo!

    Jo, Stella and Zkhat

  6. Oh R. Your soft face melts my Vickies heart.

  7. R sends such a message with his eyes and barking,not to mention his wave. Beautiful flower photo, that macro lens,perfect. Greetings from Jean

  8. Oh we love R's smile and all his energy! And we love the beautious photo of Shyla,, with the glow on her.

  9. Out there is where you should be able to bark. We get in trouble because we have such close neighbours.

    XXXoOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

  10. We love that you bark when you wave, R! You're multitasking, ya know!

    Love ya lots,
    Mitch and Molly

  11. What's a wave without a barking hello?!

  12. A wonderful post, full of the joy of being alive and surrounded by those you love!

  13. Well, a BIG barky hello to you too R! You look so amazing when you're doing the wave. You have such a zest for life. Just look at the smile on your face.

    We're so glad to hear the injections are helping :)

    Lily Belle & Muffin

  14. Beautiful Shyla and Handsome R - look at those eyes!!! You do such a fantastic job on your training of the dogs - can we send Lightning your way?:)

    Enjoy your weekend.

  15. R is a qute one.....hes Eyes are so dark and Deep, Lovely!! Great you have better wheather now. Here we had rain today...spring is very delayed

  16. That's really interesting about how only rewarding the times that R waves without barking will teach him to wave without barking. Can a dog always figure out what it is they were doing differently, even if it was something they were doing unconsciously/instinctively?
    (Sorry for my ignorance, I've never had a dog (yet!) so I'm still trying to learn as much as I can about training).

  17. R looks like he's having a blast. He looks like a puppy in that first picture.

  18. I'd keep the barking while waving, turn it into "Say, 'Hi!'" The work on the silent "Wave".

  19. R is such a handsome guy! It's great news that he's not limping.

    Susan and Wrigs

  20. What beautiful pics! My first time stopping by! Nice to meet you!


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