Sunday, February 13, 2011

Above Freezing!


I love this time of year. Temperatures above freezing means that the end of a long, cold, snowy winter is finally in sight. Walking the dog is far more enjoyable: it can happen more frequently (sorry, Maisy, I love you, but I just won't walk when it's 20 below zero before the windchill), and the walks can be longer, and I don't need to wear so many layers that I can barely move anymore. (However, Maisy did still need her booties. Ah, well... spring will come soon enough.)


The best part, though, is twofold. First, there is still enough snow left that there are snowbanks along our favorite trails. This means that it is quite safe to let Maisy off leash even in my urban neighborhood. Better yet, most people aren't out yet with their dogs, which means I don't need to worry about out-of-control dogs nearly as much.


The end result was a very lazy walk. I could amble and soak up the sun and Maisy could enjoy all the smells without being told to hurry up. We will definitely enjoy these precious days together.

9 comments:

jen said...

I agree on all your points. Above freezing temps are much more enjoyable to walk in! less ice!

Kristine said...

One of the things I love best about walking in the winter is that Shiva and I are usually the only ones crazy enough to go outside. We never have to worry about running in to anyone unexpectedly and generally have the off-leash spaces to ourselves. When spring arrives I will miss that.

Enjoy the start of the melt!

Lauren said...

When it dips back down below freezing you should just send Maisy to me for walks. I seem to have a defective dog who thinks walks are for sniffing and not really walking, regardless of weather and we are lucky to make it a mile!

I have been seriously considering getting a Flexi since I have yet to see someone on the Theo Wirth Parkway when we walk and then he can do the sniff and dash to catch up to me routine that he does when on a long line. Much better for both of us, but they are so darn expensive and I probably would not be able to use one once it got really nice.

P.S. Once it gets really nice out you should bring Maisy over and we should walk Theo Wirth, it really is very nice, though I don't know how many people walk their dogs there once the weather gets nice.

Crystal said...

Lauren, Maisy also prefers sniffing and not walking, so I've developed a "go sniff" cue and a "come on" cue (which means sniffing time is over and that she should come back to me). It seems to work.

And I'd LOVE to come walk with you guys!!

Ninso said...

I walked all 3 dogs on Saturday without gloves! It was SO nice! Lok has somehow finally learned (or decided?) not to pull on the leash, so we went for a nice long walk! It was the first leash walk with him I've ever enjoyed!

Lauren said...

With Frodo I just tend to shorten his leash and he will try to go sniff something and gives up pretty easily and then just follows me. If there is something he just HAS to smell then I ask him for a hand touch/sit/whatever and then he is allowed to go sniff.

The problem with a come back to me command is that no treat in the world beats sniffing for Frodo. I just remind myself that walks are the highlight of his day so I need to be a little more patient with him. It doesn't always work.

Crystal said...

One word, Lauren: PREMACK.

When Frodo REALLY wants to sniff something, call him back, give him an awesome treat, and then then him to go sniff again. Yes, in the beginning this sucks, because it takes even longer, but once you build up a bank account (so to speak), you can sometimes skip the sniff reward. Variable reinforcement is better than continuous reinforcement anyway. :)

Lauren said...

Okay, I thought I WAS Premacking by calling him away from the scent and rewarding him by going back to the scent.

So I should be calling him back, treats, and then sending him for more sniffing...

Crystal said...

Oh, I missed that you were sending him back to the scent. You're right- that's Premack. I just like to up the ante with the addition of a treat. Maisy's very food motivated.