It took two days for my internet connection to cooperate enough to upload these videos from Monday. TWO DAYS of trying over and over, vainly canceling the attempts that went something like “your video will be uploaded in 5332 minutes”.
Now that I have that out of my system… Since for a variety of reasons for the foreseeable future it will probably just be him and me in skijor races, I’ve been trying to take Squash out alone more recently. By far what needs the most work is his ON BY. He loves to run but he doesn’t LOVE to run, so he’s easily distracted by shiny things.
We’ve worked on a couple of different exercises. One, holding attention/eye contact in the house while walking back and forth past interesting things on the floor. Two, walks/canicross walking ON BY interesting things to pee on. Three, me simply not stopping and waiting anymore if he ignores an ON BY command. At best, this creates enough pressure on the line to get him moving again. At worst, I get slung around and fall – which also gets him moving again because he wants to investigate what I’m doing there on the ground in a jumble of skis and poles. (By this time in the season I’m so well-practiced at and so unafraid of falling that I’ve tucked this technique into a toolbox labelled “Whatever Works”.)
At his absolute worst, if he is distracted by something he just comes to an all-out stop. But my three-pronged approach has resulted in a noticeable improvement, thusly demonstrated. In the first video, he responds MUCH better to the command than he has pre-three prong. In the second, it’s very hard to see but there are several piles of deer poop in the middle of the trail that he doesn’t even pause to investigate. Of course, on the way back along the same trail when we were more tired he wanted to investigate ALL the deer poops, but hey baby steps.
And this one doesn’t have much to to do with ON BY, but I am proud of his GEE OVER and Squash’s reaction to my fall just amuses me for some reason. Some areas of the trails that day were REALLY icy and just the slightest bump would put me down since I’m not a super strong skier. Nice to know that he wouldn’t just keep dragging my comatose body around if I ever took a serious spill, I guess. Although I’m not sure the alternative of him just sitting with me there until I froze to death is any better. Maybe I better teach him how to use the quick-release so he can go for help?
Coming up this Friday is the Barkie Birkie! Squash and I will be hopping in the car Thursday after work and going on an adventure together. Sadly my helper/husband could not get off work so he will be staying home with the rest of the crew, but since I broke the seal on the Loppet my anxiety over doing this alone is barely registering on the worry-o-meter. I certainly won’t have very many pictures to share but hopefully I can rig up a better camera mount to get better race video. Until then, enjoy this picture of Squash’s butt!