Sunday, May 23, 2010

Owl and Level Three

Kona and I got a treat at the trailhead this morning. Right out of the car I heard a strange bird call. It sounded like a goose with laryngitis. I almost felt embarrassed when I saw the owl swoop out of the tree and land on the telephone pole next to us. Several years ago, I saw owls in our neighborhood nearly every morning. For some reason, they've disappeared and I have not seen one in literally four or five years. I had forgotten its call.

So Kona and I stood at the beginning of the trail to become reacquainted with my old bird friend. Within seconds, two crows dive bombed the owl. The owl took the pestering for over a minute before taking off into a nearby tree. Meanwhile, a troop of crows gathered on a telephone wire. When the owl made a move to another tree down canyon, the crows took off in unison after the owl. I don't know if they were protecting a nest or just knew the owl could be trouble. Either way, I felt lucky to watch all the birds at work. Kona stood by me, watching the scene too. It was a great way to start our run.
On the Training Front

Kona and I got through two areas in the house of relaxation protocol work. I started her outside, but stopped after three days and we haven't done anything for the past week. Bad AC. Fortunately, I didn't stop because Kona couldn't handle it. For all of Kona's fears, she's a mellow girl. After only a couple days of RP work, Kona would offer a down with the first exercise. She really seemed quite bored with the whole thing.

I was surprised to see her also offer a down during our few days outside. We worked by the front door so Kona stayed close to the house but had the "action" of our quiet street to challenge her. She definitely oriented more to the sounds around her, but she stayed in a sit or down. I need to get back out there, because the work outside is what's going to help her. While I waited with Kona outside the training hall for today's nose work class, I really wished that she had more RP work to pull from.

Today was Kona's first level 3 nose class. She missed last week, but it may have been a good break. The class is later in the day and may have made Kona more nervous. She's more sensitive in the afternoons and today was the first time I remember her shaking after her initial nervous arrival time.

Her nerves seemed to be limited to the transition to and from the car because she worked great inside. She seemed to spend less time forgetting what she was doing, and found the odor more quickly. She approach our trainer during one off leash search with her signature little wiggle, which made me smile. She still slinks around a bit and keeps her tail down most of the time, but I think her focus is improving.


LauraK said...

That's great that her focus is improving- I think sometimes a break from whatever our dogs "job" is is good for them. We all need breaks every once in a while :) What a great start to your run, very cool!

Sara said...

The relaxation protocal is such an overwhelming task. I admire you for even attempting it!

How cool to see an owl in the wild! I only see plastic ones that people put on buildings to keep other critters away.

Priscilla said...

It's not easy for us to see an owl here. Many bats here but not owls.

Kathy said...

do you think the relaxation protocol is helping with the focus too? Or is that just she is getting more into things and really understanding so has even more focus?
How sad there arent as many owls as there once were...what a great way to start the day with seeing one!