River was snuggly this morning. Not sure why, but three separate times he crawled onto my lap, nibbled on my fingers, and then tucked his head onto my shoulder to nap. It was painfully sweet. If he weren’t so big (and I didn’t have work to do), I’d have loved to let him stay there.
Took a break in the middle of the morning and, since we’re having a break between storms, decided to take him outside into the front yard. Remembering how hard it was to get his attention out there a couple of weeks ago, I decided it would primarily be for his exercise, and I would just reinforce his recall now and then.
This was a different puppy. He heeled — and I mean perfect head-up heeling — all the way to the front gate and back. He broke off to do a little exploring, and I was able to cue some beautiful recalls. He even swung himself into heel position a couple of times. I let the big dogs out with us for a two minute run, and each time the three dogs got as far from me as they could, I cued River’s recall — and he came galloping away from them back to me. (Twice the big dogs came thundering back too!) That’s a 30 yard recall away from some pretty powerful distractions!
Only thing he didn’t do well was stay. I tried just once or twice — figured there was no reason to focus on it right now, since it wasn’t in my original plan. I can bring him out later, assuming it’s not pouring rain, and work on stays.
I’m really glad I have this area and the pastures. The dogs don’t get much access to them, so the distraction level is fairly high. They’re also fully fenced and private, so I can train off leash. It’s excellent practice when I can’t get into town or to PetSmart to practice in higher distractions.