12 September 2008

Pictureless Travel Report

If I took the time to download and put in pictures, I wouldn't have time to tell you anything about our trip. So I will do the trip report now and see about pictures later.

Let's see... we arrived on the 3rd in the evening. I told you that already. Thursday the 4th we mostly just chilled out at my parents' place, adjusting to the time difference. We got a walk out back and got all those nice pictures of Molly in the grass and my Mom gave Molly permission to play with Dumbo's bunny, which she loved. Thursday night we crated Molly while we went out to eat with my brother and his girlfriend at a Mexican place. Molly did fine in her crate and got a doggy bag of goodies from the restaurant.

Friday was a more hectic day. I had a doctor appointment and started by taking Molly in with me. But she had trouble settling down--there were a couple kids sitting and talking in the office and people moving around and I think she was just too excited about being in a new country. So my DH took her back out to the car while I got examined.

From there we went to Walmart, where she did really well working for me. I was in my wheelchair at that point and she is comfortable working with that now thanks to all those practice rolls at home on the bike path. My mom finds it odd that so many people look at her in her vest then talk to her saying, "You're working. I'm not allowed to talk to you. But you're a nice puppy" or something like that. I appreciate that they at least aren't walking up and handling her without asking, but it is a little distracting and she'll sometimes start her butt wiggle and jack-in-the-box spring butt effect. She's getting better though.

Friday night we went to my grandmother's. Molly got to be in the car part of the time while I greeted my grandmother's dog Jenny, who has always loved me. Then later we brought Molly in and tried to put the two together. It sorta worked but both were a bit edgy--neither has a reputation for being good with other dogs. So they took turns for the rest of the evening. Molly dug out 4 of Jenny's tennis balls that were hidden around the room and engaged everyone in play. She likes to make sure that everyone in the room is involved.

Molly impressed everyone, including me, with how quickly she learned to identify people by name. She already knew my parents as grandmom and granddad but by the end of the evening she was also delivering the ball on command to my aunt and uncle by name and getting better at IDing my grandmother.

The weather ruined our original plans for Saturday--the Green Lane border collie trial. But my old friend from high school was in the area for the weekend, so we changed our plans to spend the day with her. She has a small car, so Molly got to spend the afternoon with my parents' without me and DH. She did very well with that too and my dad got her out for a bit of a walk.

Saturday night my brother and his girlfriend came over for dinner and Molly got to help pick things up off the floor as needed, play with everyone with Dumbo's bunny, and just generally be a cute little lovebug.

Sunday was a big day. The weather had cleared, so we headed for the Endless Mountains Fiber Fest. As well as having sheep and llamas and other fiber animals, they had a sheepdog demonstration. A lot of people there knew or suspected that she was a BC and she got a lot of praise by knowledgable people. Several people did ask whether she was a mix or something because they weren't used to the smooth coats. I found it pretty odd when we got to the sheepdog demonstration when all the dogs there were smooths as well.

The demo was really neat and Molly was totally fascinated. We stayed through most of it and Molly got a little introduction to the crowd as a BC doing another job. I will try to get the pictures up eventually. When they started working a less trained puppy, we had to go because Molly was just whining like crazy in jealousy. She wanted to get out there and work the sheep.

When we left the festival, we took a very scenic drive home along the Delaware River from the Delaware Water Gap down to the New Hope area. Molly and I were tired and did some napping.

Monday was another busy day. We went to the college I graduated from (Delaware Valley College in Doylestown, PA) and visited the people I knew in the library. Molly came in as a working dog and met some people and spent some time chilling on the floor. Then she waited in the car while DH and I got a tour of the horse barns. We met two clicker trained horses, one of which was trained to pick up a toy from the floor. That was really cool!

Then Molly and I waited while DH checked out the dairy barn and some other stuff.

Finally we went to visit my mom's coworkers in the admissions department and Molly came in and made a great impression. She worked well and behaved nicely and it turned out that my mother's boss has BCs and his wife works with a rescue. So he really enjoyed her visit and it was nice talking to someone knowledgable.

Much of Monday evening we spent packing for the road trip. Tuesday was a hectic day with packing and errands. Molly had to stay home when we went to the grocery store because the car was packed with my chair. But she got to come later to Walmart and impress people again with her demeanor and skills. We met more of those people who say "you're working so I can't talk to you" in silly voices.

Wednesday morning bright and early we hit the road for Virginia, our first overnight stop. Molly camped out between me and DH in the back seats and we tucked her in under the blanket when she looked cold. Molly came to breakfast with us and lay down nicely under the table at Perkins. We were really proud of her for settling so well and being so quiet. DH sneaked her a few goodies as a reward. She also got to work while we toured a museum around the middle of the day. She again behaved well and made a good impression on everyone we met.

At the hotel Wednesday night, we put her crate on the bed because there wasn't any floor space. She settled happily into it on her mat. She was too tired when we arrived to eat, but got up and ate at 11pm after a potty walk. She got us up again at 1 for another walk.

Thursday we let her stay in the car during breakfast because we ate in a Waffle House and the space is limited. She also had such a big day ahead of her. Lunch we had in a park in Spartanburg, NC, and she got to come out on a long line tied to the picnic table.

After that, we had to Erin and Z at the Good Dog Academy for a training session. Erin has given us several tips before on our training and we thought it would be a good idea to see her while we were in the area so she could check out Molly for herself. Molly did really really well. We started by working on teaching her not to jump on people. Erin made some progress with her in a short training session and gave us a lot of ideas for working further on the problem.

Another big problem was Molly's tendency to be noisy while working. We have a good idea for that one now--having my DH do Molly's job if Molly is noisy because Molly _hates_ for someone else to do her job.

Then we worked on some socialization with Erin's dog Z and that went really well. Molly started settling down around Z and wagging with a loose tail. She got lots of clicks and treats for short and prolonged looks at Z.

We had a few play breaks in all this when DH played with her with her kong. We ended the session with some mat work. I've had trouble getting Molly to find her mat from a longer distance. Amazingly she did great and was even able to pick her own mat out at about 10 feet with a choice of 3 mats. Wow. We'd been doing some training there, so it doesn't count as a levels test.

Then from Erin's we drove to another Internet BC friend, Brenda with her boys Jake and JJ. Brenda did great helping us work more on the not jumping thing and Molly really seemed to get the rules. Then we introduced her to JJ. It took some slow work, but Molly was soon wagging at JJ with a loose tail. We let the two of them loose and Molly ran after him all over Brenda's fenced back yard.

It was going so well that we added Jake to the mix. By then Molly was playing like a dog and it was a beautiful sight. They ran up and down the steps to the deck and chased balls and frisbees and just played like dogs do. She also was quite comfortable drinking their water with them around. I didn't do any training in the backyard then successfully recalled Molly at 40' or so through the other two dogs... So that's a recall pass for my levels tests! YAY!

Then we headed for the hotel and another night's sleep. She behaved well all night. I have determined that my body is not happy about picking up after her when she potties. My DH had done it at the earlier stops, but this time there was a grassy patch right outside our door so I took her out myself. It is a little backwards to have an SD that has a primary job of keeping me from bending over then to have to bend over to pick up after her... Hmmm...

Now my family is itching to hit the road, so I want to get this posted. We had breakfast here at the hotel and let Molly stay in the car. Now we're heading for a few scenic stops before we spend the weekend at my brother's with my family.

Tomorrow we have an appointment with Robin at Shoofly Farms for a herding lesson! We're so excited!


Samantha said...

It sounds like you guys are all having a great time over there. I look forward to reading more about your travels and seeing some pic's. :-)

Tansy said...

Dogness, what a time You are having! Molly getting lots of Work and Play - a great vacation. Look forward to hearing about Sheep!