November 5, 2013
The return to standard times means weeknight walks in the dark for Ruby and I. While my neighborhood is fairly well lit, we'll probably be staying closer to home as it gets darker and colder. We will likely see fewer triggers, particularly bikes and skateboards, but the rabbits are out in full force! (Although she wants to chase them desperately, I don't really consider rabbits a "trigger.")
On one of the first chilly evening walks, I noticed Ruby was shivering. Coming from the south as she did, and with a fairly sleek and thin coat, I decided she would need a winter wardrobe. She hates the sound of the Velcro on her waterproof jacket, but got the hang of getting her legs through the leg-holes of her sweaters very quickly. She's quite sure that the sweater inhibits walking normally in the house, but soon forgets about it when we head outside.
Abbreviated walks mean extended indoor training sessions! Ruby can now ring her doorbell on command ("ring ring") but has yet to associate it with asking to go out. I have no doubt we'll get there, and she already gets my attention with a distinct whine, so it wasn't even a necessary tool, just another thing to teach this sharp, busy girl! "Roll over" seems to have regressed - she gets so excited that she sort of flings herself around and scoots in a circle. We are working on a more useful cue, "relax," which means lay flat on her side with head down. As with most of her tricks and cues, she continues to impress me by having a grasp on it after only two or three days. We have also started "bye bye," a wave with her paw. She is very "handsy" as it is and it is not at all difficult to get her to touch or paw at things. She really enjoys her new trick, "over," in which I tip a dining room chair on its side and she springs back and forth over it. If we could just tap in to more focus, this girl is a shoe-in for agility. I still want to get a hula hoop and build a some sort of little jump for her.
As we gear up for winter, Ruby and I will be cozying up to stay warm and expanding her trick and training repertoire. How does your routine change with the season?