Skill A Day: Day 2 Walking & Agility with Baby

Today I had the pleasure of babysitting my 3 month old niece all day.  I was blessed with the reality that she wanted to sleep for oh about 6 of the total 8 hours, but sleeping on me baby meaning I’m even more stationary than usual often makes for jealous and bored dogs.  Well, let’s be more specific: jealous and bored Zora.  As Tom loves when the kids come as it means I end up petting him more.  1 hand holding or feeding kid, 1 hand petting Tom.

Anyway, so today we practiced lots of sharing and split attention skills in the house.  And we took a walk, baby in sling on me, Tom and Zora walking as usual.  I was thrilled as both dogs were exceptionally behaved, walking as taught.  Tom was super careful guiding, keeping an eye on both me and our young charge.  Zora was lovely walking at heel.  Twice on the walk we passed other people and their dog, and despite that Zora was barky she stayed in heel on a slack leash as we passed without much added support from me.  I was once again ever grateful for Tom and his skills as we had a rather unusual traffic check situation with a car somehow coming at us around another car I think.  It totally startled me but Tom had it covered and kept us safe.

This afternoon Zora was getting antsy and barky, so outside we went.  Baby wrapped up nice and warm in my arms meant I didn’t have much use of my arms for cues and signaling as we practiced agility.  It was a good review of more subtle body language and foot work cues for Zora and I and it was overall a success.  Interestingly we struggled with the switch to the left from right lead change cue repeatedly in different sequences.  I have to keep an eye on that and figure out if this is a repeat challenge or just an oddity of today.  And if more than an oddity if there is a physical reason or simply a training one.  Most of the sequences we practiced involved distance layering, something she and I have been steadily building on over the past months.

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