A Tale of Two “ON BY”s

This space has been pretty quiet for a while. When last we met, I was still wrapping my head around having Aspen living with us and all my feelings about that. I’m happy to say he’s fitting in here like a hand in a glove and I couldn’t be happier with him. The dogs are all getting along great and if you want to see some of their shenanigans we are on Instagram @alaskanbulldogs.

It was a challenging winter for running dogs. Most of of the time there wasn’t enough snow to skijor but too much snow for my scooter or hybrid bike. When I finally gave in and got a fat tire bike, we got a thaw-refreeze cycle that turned all the trails into ice, then just as the trails were icing out we got a late-season blizzard.

But, except for a little high water, things have calmed down for the most part and we’re able to get out more. What I wanted to share today is a breakdown of two ON BYs, one a success and one a spectacular failure.

First up, the success (because it came first). What went right here is that I noticed the deer at the same time Squash did, but before Aspen did; I managed to get the command out before Squash had committed to trying to chase and before Aspen really fully realized what was going on. So we had some momentum to carry us. (Which quickly turned into excitedly blowing off steam for a minute.)

Second, what went wrong. In this instance, I did not notice the squirrel or get the command out until after both dogs had seen it and reacted. Because I gave the command once they were both fully committed to trying to chase, they probably didn’t even hear me.

 

This is a good reminder for me that because of the way I have trained ON BY, it works best for my dogs to hear the command preemptively and I have to be really alert for distractions. Obviously I’m not always going to see everything, but for my purposes I’m ok with an occasional misstep.

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