I worked on Christmasy things for my day off yesterday: made cake for cake balls, worked on some crafts, wrapped presents, crocheted, all of the above.
I also hit refresh on the package tracking for my Secret Santa gift approximately eight hundred million times. DAMMIT, UPS. I was so on top of things, and then it turns out it was a three week order and the shipping was slooooooooow. SIGH. Today, hopefully!
Anyway: when I headed out to leave, Arya ignored the food I had left for her and sat in front of the door and whined so hard her whole body was shaking. She is already the whiniest dog in the whole world – crying is her love language basically – but this was a cut above. So I gave in and brought her to the barn.
Now, the last time Arya came to the barn and hung out in my car while I was riding, she puked all over the driver’s side of my then-brand-new car. Like, everywhere. I was cleaning puppy vomit out of the window buttons with a goddamn toothpick.
Anyway. I walked her around a bit and we worked on focusing and behaving when everything in the whole world was more exciting than focusing on me: eating poop, eating snow, playing with other barn dogs, eating hay, eating poop…you name it. She’s nowhere near off leash ready yet, so that involved quite a lot of “WHOOOOO” and hitting the end of the leash, and then having a focused session about behaving on a loose leash, getting treats for touching my hand, re-focusing on me, walking when I said…etc. Some people can let their 14 month old dogs off leash. Arya’s brain would immediately unspool out of her ears and she would never come back. Ah well.
Then, the test: I put her in my car, settled all the various snacks out of the way, closed the door, and kept my fingers crossed.
I opted to put Tristan on the longe line. Just bridle, no surcingle and chambon. He’s been working really well that way, and today was another example. He’s in a great weight right now, and feeling good from the pergolide and pentosan. He moved out nicely, and responded well – even felt good enough to throw a couple of bucking fits as his back loosened up.
He worked for about 25 minutes overall, and over a pole from time to time. As I’ve been longeing him more and more, I’m learning that he doesn’t longe very well at the canter. He tips in, and I have no good way to correct him in the longeing setup I’m using. (I could go to double lines, but I haven’t done that with him in years and quite frankly I’m lazy.) He motorcycles and drops his inside hip and bends to the outside. That pushes him off balance and leads to a bit of a frantic scramble. He’ll get half a circle or so of a good pushing canter (and he’s starting to lift through his back the teensiest bit when he does that, which is exciting), and then fall in and scramble.
Trot, now – he works beautifully at the trot on the longe line. Nice and lifting and after a canter, a loose back and stretchy gaits. He’s becoming a pleasure to watch, truly. It’s so nice to see him building strength again!
He actually got a bit warm from the longeing, so I left him under a cooler with a note for the barn staff to put his blanket back on at grain time – just about 45 minutes later.
And Arya? Behaved perfectly. Cried and screamed up a storm when I got back to the car, but we stopped for McDonald’s on the way home, and some fries went a long way toward rehabilitating me as a parent in her eyes.