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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Winter - Snowbiking and Dog Training

Lest you think that Shyla is always on the go, here's a photo of her lingering in bed while I was getting ready for our morning snow bike ride. She has my routine memorized to the smallest detail. She keeps her eyes half open to monitor me and rarely emerges from her luxurious snoozing spot until I'm completely ready to go.
It feels as if we've had endless days of gray skies and light snow that leaves fresh coat of white almost every morning. While the light has been drab, the snowbiking conditions have been fabulous. I did a long singletrack loop today after I dropped Shyla off at home because the snow conditions are so good.

The conditions also seem to be good for retrieving!
Occasionally, during these gray days, there's a flash of weak sunshine when the sun finds a hole in the cloud cover. We usually stop to play some training games for the brief moments that it's sunny. You've seen Shyla wave with her right paw many times - it's one of her favorite tricks.
Well, she's now very reliable at understanding the different cues for waving with her right versus her left paw. Here's the left paw. She doesn't raise it quite as high yet... but she does wave with it!
I've taught R the same two cues so he can wave with his left or right paw, depending on which one I ask for. But, it was very funny the first time that I put the Duo next to each other to have them wave in sync. They both looked at me as if they'd never heard the wave cues before! This is a perfect example of how dogs don't generalize. Each of them understood the verbal cue for waving as only applying when they were sitting by themselves.

So, I retrained them sitting side-by-side, and I'm really hoping that I can get a video of them waving with with alternating paws in sync. We still have more work to do before we achieve that goal. Yesterday, when I held a camera in my hand, they both "forgot" what the cues meant - yet again. So now I need to retrain them while I hold a camera. Eventually, they *will* generalize the cues for waving!

I'm really rooting for a sunny day soon to help keep our spirits up. Today I went wild trying to add some color to my photos, with a red neck warmer and a purple toy. Color is a big part of what I love about photography.
But, the pristine beauty of the hoar frost that has appeared on branches almost every morning recently does make me smile too.
Our days are now getting perceptibly longer. Before we know it, we'll be at the equinox! More daylight makes me happy!


  1. she is so darn cute, whether snoozing or leaping. :)

  2. The picture of her half snoozing really reminds me of Zoe!! :D I love the photo of her waving!! It's too cute! I can't wait to see them both doing it!

  3. I miss the hoary frost...closest I have now is the cooler at Costco!! Love the new trick and look forward to the video. :)

  4. The hoar frost looks like a fern.

    Funny that the dogs had to be retrained together.

  5. Shyla, at least you got a mom that will go out in the cold and play with ya......lucky.

    Aroo to you,

  6. That is really interesting about the waving! Sometimes I don't think about how dogs don't generalize, but it would probably explain a few things about Piper that can baffle me. Thanks for that insight!
    I've been noticing the longer daylight too! For a while, I was starting evening chores really early so I could be finished by dark, but now I can not only start later because of the lingering light, but I've even started delaying the evening chores so as I'm finishing up, it IS dark and I can really enjoy the magical mood-enhancing tree lights. :)

  7. Boy she is really cuddled down in that blanket. Torrey watches what shoes I am putting on. She knows.

  8. Ilove how they learn our routines.
    Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

  9. Yay for longer days!!
    Dory, Jakey, Arty & Bilbo

  10. Bart times his evening trip in from outside to coincide with my getting into bed! They know us so well :-)

  11. We think you're pretty smart staying warm and snuggly in bed until the last moment, Shyla!

  12. With all that outdoor fun, I can see why she needs a little nap from time to time!

  13. More daylight makes me happy, too.

    My guys can't wave too well due to their silly corgi stature, but they give a good "paw" and "other paw". Jimmy knows it in pretty much any context as I use it to get him to focus on me right before an agility run.

  14. Oh Shyla - you're all the colour I need you beautiful thing you! I don't normally get affected by the dark evenings, but this year they are dragging. Not long now :)

  15. We are "scheduled" for a sunny day tomorrow so maybe you will get it too! Shyla does a great wave!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  16. We hope you get some sun your way. I haven't been able to train either dog wave. Harlow did a wonderful shake when she was younger, but recently I've had issues with her doing that.

    Monty and Harlow

  17. Gorgeous. Our first trainer impressed on us the fact that dogs don't generalize. And that what is already learned in the home may need reinforcing in other locations. Best lesson we learned. We have no sun either. Hope you and I see some sunshine soon.

  18. That first photo is making me incredibly sleepy. Nevermind that it's nearly 11 here. She just looks so comfy.

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