|Photographing white dog in snow = hard|
To start, just before the holidays I accepted a part-time position as a behaviour evaluator at our local shelter. So now, instead of volunteering one day a week, I do the same thing but get paid for it. Not much, but I'm not doing it for the hourly wage (although I have to admit having the cost of my gas covered by my wage is nice).
Snowball had a great holiday; I was off from Christmas until New Year's, which meant he got lots of walks at the off-leash park, there was someone home almost all day to let him in and out of the hard as he pleased.
Ida and I did practically nothing over the holiday. Just before the break, I could see that two classes a week was starting to wear on her. I think more the four car-trips than the the classes themselves; regardless, I made it my goal to not make her do anything with the car over the holiday, and I stuck to it. We did a few desensitization walks around the cul-de-sac, but mostly we just worked inside on agility behaviours, which I'll write more about our holiday-time break in a separate post. We went back to class this week and the break really made a difference. Ida was full of vim and vigor and tons of enthusiasm in our jumping class. And - excitingly and annoyingly - she was also operantly barking at the other dogs when we walked past. That is, she was not freaking out and lunging at them, but barked 2-3 times at the other dog and then looked as me as if to say "Now where's my cookie?". Unfortunately I had run out of cookies (bad human!), but seeing her interrupt herself without any intervention from me was so, so awesome! I don't think we are there yet, but it really gives me hope that we'll be able to participate in "normal" group classes again.