Sunday, October 2, 2011

Why Jill LOVES Mississippi!

Although moving to Mississippi was a major change for me; new job, new part of the country, no friends and family nearby. Having been here for just 2 weeks it is too soon to really have an opinion as to whether moving was a good thing or not.

Jill on the other hand gives life in Mississippi a big thumbs up!

First of all, I live where I work. This means that instead of me taking the dogs with me, I stay with the dogs.  My apartment if on the second floor of a building. As a result I have to take them downstairs and out into the dog yard. It is a nice huge fenced in area, lots of room to run. This means she gets to go for what she sees as a "walk" several times a day. Since one of her major goals in life is to do anything with me, she is totally happy!

Then, since she is not doing search and rescue training here in Mississippi, I have been focusing on obedience with a little bit of agility thrown in.  I started seriously working on competition obedience skills with her a few weeks ago and she LOVES it. I usually train her in the evening when I am done working and she practically loses her mind when she knows it is time to train. Anyone who has met her knows how busy and energetic she is, not to mention how she feels about her TOY so that part is not surprising. However she is totally into the fussiness of the training too and was very quick to understand that I needed precision in addition to enthusiasm.  I did a lot of work with the reinforcement zones with her first, heavily reinforcing her for being in the correct positions - heel position, front position etc. I started with food and did this while she was in stationary positions initially. Then I added the toy to the picture and rewarded her in the zone the minute she was there and added movement. By doing it this way she was able to understand exactly what would get her the reinforcement and how to go about getting it.

"I LOVE obedience!!!"
As if that wasn't enough I have been taking her running with me. I normally do not take dogs with me running as that is my time and have my own training goals and don't want the run to turn into more training sessions or time to focus on my dogs.  However Jill is so sweet and biddable that I thought I would see how she would do running with me. I needn't have worried, she was perfect. Today we ran about 4 miles on a lengthy bike trail system north of Jackson. Her pace was perfect even when I got slower towards the end! She neither lagged nor pulled ahead, she was very interested in the dogs and people and bikes that went by but stayed right in position with me. The bike trail is beautiful, at least half of it is shaded even during midday.

Why are we stopping?! Let's run!!

As far as Jill is concerned the only thing that would make Mississippi perfect would be if I actually let her go into some of those water holes along the sides of the path. I am not exactly sure where they like to hang out and it is not like there were any "beware of alligators" signs but I wasnt going to take any chances! I dont think we are in Kansas anymore....

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