An evening at work kept me from posting yesterday, but Kona and I had a great outing together. We started the day with a sunrise run on one of our neighborhood trails.
While the Eastern sky shined pink, the moon lingered in the West.
I'm beginning to feel my running legs again, so Kona and I moved quickly up our first hill. At the top, I stopped to photo Kona next to the rock creation, but she let me know with a tongue flick that she was having none of my camera nonsense.
I still managed to get one shot in.
As we descended the next hill, I worked with Kona on her heel position. This is a new command we've worked on for CGC class. Kona is terrible on a leash, and since she has just started being able to take treats from me on our runs, we're far away from learning to keep the leash loose all the time. But since she's willing to take treats now, we've practice heeling on many of our descents.
Kona does great when I treat her every 10 or so feet. On one hand she gets it. On the other, it's challenging because we've never worked on a command that's moving and continuous. Most commands Kona knows are just one action. Kona can hold a continuous stay, but that's a stationary command. With heel, I'm giving her a moving command that she still has to be released from. Challenging. Especially for a spazzy Kona Dog. She can stay by my side if she keeps her focus on me, but when we're running together, she does need to look up at the trail. To be continued.
When we reached our turn around point, I stopped to watch the sun peak around the hill.
Kona took advantage of the pause to find something downslope to pounce.
I finished our run feeling strong. Kona finished with too much energy.
On the Training Front
Along with our heel work, I'm trying to heal Kona 'Whoa.' I'd love for Kona to be able to slow down and stop on command while we're on the trails. I decided to use a physical barrier to start. I put Kona on leash right in front of a line up of chairs so she would have to stop. After a few times, I added the whoa command.
I soon found our challenge. Kona didn't need the barrier. When we're outside working together, she focuses on me and will stop when I stop. It's also hard to send her out in front of me, where she always is on the trail.
To see if she was getting it and not just following me, I set her up to be stopped by the chairs, told her to whoa, dropped her leash and walked around the chairs. She stayed, so I thought we were onto something. Then I caught myself putting my hand in the stay position as I walked by her. She knows this cue well, but needs to know how to whoa with only a verbal cue, since she will be in front of me.
While I think we're onto something, I'm not sure how I can get this to the point where it will translate to the trails where distractions abound. If anyone has any ideas, I'm all ears! It's a challenge, but it's a ton of fun to work with Kona on something outside behavior modification.