So this wasn’t how I imagined my winter of 2011-2012 would be. I was pretty damn sure I’d be on skis by now, if not behind a dog yet at least by myself getting my ski legs back under me. When we didn’t have a white Christmas I thought ok I’m not thrilled by this but it’s only December, plenty of time for snow. When we didn’t have a white New Year’s I though ok well since Squash is restricted from vigorous exercise for awhile anyway, NOW when it snows it will be easier to start skijoring with just Maisy.
And now it’s January 12th. And while we’ve had a dusting of snow here and there, we’ve also had ridiculously warm weather followed by a cold snap that has turned my scootering trails that did have any snow on them into glare ice and the trails that didn’t into frozen sandpaper. We can’t scooter. We can’t ski or skijor. It’s even really too icy for canicross and Squash can’t run anyway.
There lie my best laid plans in their icy, sandpapery ruins. RIP. I’ll miss you, but since you were mere incorporeal wisps of thought existing only in my head, I’ve got to leave you behind. You see, you don’t need daily mental and physical exercise. Dogs and people do. So while you were hanging around with nothing better to do than simply not come to fruition, the rest of us had to figure out something else to do with ourselves during the winter that wasn’t.
Since the dogs are getting leash walked anyway (which is not on the restricted list for Squashies), I decided to use the winter that wasn’t as an opportunity to further polish our verbal commands. I’m taking them out mostly singly for now, and it’s interesting to see the differences between which cues they’re better or worse at, how they compare to when we started last summer, and how they compare when walking vs. in front of the scooter. For example, Squash has a MUCH better On By while walking, and Maisy is the opposite. Both of them are sharper and more consistent with all commands when they are together than out singly. Neither one of them Lines Out very well alone. Squash has an amazing Easy, Maisy has a better Whoa. It’s becoming clear why they are turning into a good team, they really compliment each other.
Most importantly, I’m realizing there is a LOT more habit and familiarity with walking and scootering routes involved in their Gees and Haws than I suspected. So I have really started focusing on them. Primarily, I’m spending a lot of time taking turns in unexpected directions at familiar intersections on our walks. I’ve gotten some dirty looks and some confused looks, and more than a few silly bouncing Squash moments (which means, in Squash-ese, “I don’t know but LOOK WHAT I CAN DO!!!!”)… but things are coming along nicely.
I guess I wouldn’t have realized just how tarnished our Gees and Haws were if it weren’t for the winter that wasn’t. And I guess it’s better to have that realization walking around the neighborhood than on a pair of skis. So there’s that.
But I still want some damn snow.