I thought the dogs had an appointment with the chiropractor this afternoon so I made sure to work my schedule around this.  Then I found out that the adjustments are to happen next week.  How wonderful to have some found time!  I arrived home at 3pm from a trip out of town for my research, and was delighted that I didn’t have to rush the dogs across the county.  Instead, I loaded Ross and Mira into the car and took them to the conservation area.

It is so beautiful there these days!  I took over 100 photos when I was there on Saturday at sunset.  I am in the process of uploading my favourites and will post them in the next couple of days.  The fall colours are gorgeous this year.  Usually, in this region, the fall colours are rather subdued shades of browns, golds and rusts.  But with the early onset of cold, the colours are more vivid.  Still not much vibrant red, but the oranges are deep and the golds are brilliant.  It’s all I can do to stay indoors, even when it is overcast and raining.

This week they were doing some construction in the conservation area, building a bridge to cross a stream that until now you had to balance on a log not to get wet going over it.  I appreciate the bridge, but the destruction to the path was horrible!  They brought in a back hoe and various heavy duty machinery that absolutely chewed up the trail, ripped up tree roots and have left the whole thing a muddy mess.  I am really beginning to wonder about this place – is it really a conservation area?  Perhaps their lack of regard for leaving huge environmental footprints is why they also don’t mind off-leash dogs.  I suppose I shoudn’t complain, if that’s the case.  The dogs sure love to run there.

Because of the construction, I ventured off to the other side of the park and found a trail I had not explored before.  Perhaps the falling leaves made it’s existence more obvious, because I know I have come to that point before and not seen a trail there.  I explored it and found a good 30-40 minute loop that looks to be rarely used.  It goes up a huge hill (thus eliminating all hikers but the stout of heart) and along a ridge, before plunging down into the valley along the stream. I’m not 100% sure it’s still part of the conservation area, but the only signs said “no motorized vehicles.”  I figured if someone bothered putting up signs, they’d tell you ‘no tresspassing’ if they didn’t want you there.  Since no such signs existed, we carried on.

Once back home with two tired dogs, I decided to do some long over-due yard work rather than take the other two back to the conservation area.  Running the dogs in shifts is a gigantic pain in the ass.  Each dog gets about 1.25 hours of exercise, and it takes me nearly 4 hours for that to happen.  I get about 2.5 hours of exercise, which I suppose is a good thing.  But I’d much rather walk for 2.5 hours with all four dogs and have us all get really fit.  As it is, they get sufficient exercise to stay in shape, but not to be in really top form. I guess it doesn’t really matter as they don’t really need to be any fitter than they are, considering they are not working full-time, nor competing.  But still, I hate spending so much time and having them benefit only a quarter of it each.

Once I got the bulk of my yard work done (comprising predominantly putting stuff away for winter), I pulled out my agility equipment and spent some time working with Kestrel and Hannah.  Both were really fabulous. Kess catches on extremely quickly, and within one or two tries I had her sequencing.  She is insanely keen, just like she’s keen to work stock.  I signed her (and Hannah) up for agility lessons starting in two weeks with one trainer, and this Saturday with another.  The Saturday lesson is an orientation of a local facility that I can rent weekly to train in.  I expect I’ll train regularly with the other trainer, and rent this place to practice in.  I’ll be taking lessons every other week and we’ll work both dogs during a 1-hour private lesson.  I actually prefer group classes for socialization purposes, but there aren’t any openings right now

I also spent some time working with Ross and Mira.  Ross is so much fun – I just love doing obedience work with him! The trainer I’ll be meeting with in two weeks also teaches Rally-O and I’m considering signing Ross up for that if I can afford it.  I have always wanted to give Rally a try with him and I think we’d have a blast.  Poor Mira is being left out of this equation!  She is a bit frustrating to do agility with. She doesn’t really care for it at all.  She loves to tug, and will do the equipment in order to play tug, but you can tell she’s doing it grudgingly.  At this point she has not really turned on to the idea so getting her to do agility is like pulling teeth.  I don’t really want to be spending money on lessons with her at this point, so will just train her on my own and if she starts to enjoy it more, we’ll re-evaluate.

It was really fun to do a little agility training with the dogs.  I haven’t done any since July and I do miss it.  The dogs really love it, even Mira likes the idea of training with me, she’s doesn’t get the whole jumping over pieces of plastic business.  I guess considering the incredible natural agility field she just ran her heart out in, I can understand.