Yesterday afternoon was spent at Crossings Park with Alice and Josh. In many ways it was a far more pleasant walk than the one a few weeks ago at Washington Park, but it did rain and there were a literal ton of bugs out. Alice mentioned they were so thick in the air it looked like it was snowing, which is a visual I’m glad I wasn’t privy to.
Even with the pesky bugs it was a very lovely walk. We meandered our way through a good portion of the park, wandering down different paths. I’ve been to the park a fair number of times and I still don’t understand how the paths are laid out, which is probably why I’ve managed to see new things every time I’ve gone to this park. But since the goal was merely to get in Alice’s steps we were mostly choosing our direction based on the simple need to walk rather than searching for any specific destination. We actually walked along one path that had various workout stations along it, like a pull-up bar and a bench to do situps on. I don’t know how popular randomly stopping a walk outside to do different workouts is, but I thought it was kind of random.
I was a bit wary of this outing because of how Uschi had been the last time we were at the park, though, I knew at least some of that was because I’d been too hot and exhausted to really keep on her like a good handler. We saw a lot of different animals during our walk and that included quite a few dogs. Uschi was certainly aware of them, especially the little dogs, but she wasn’t too bothered by any of them and was put back on task rather easily. She even walked by an obedience class where several dogs were off leash practicing sit-stays and recalls and gave as much notice to them as they did to her. As we were leaving we ran across a cat, which we assumed belonged to someone in one of the nearby housing developments, and that was definitely an issue for Uschi. I really can’t fault her for that because they’ve been an issue for her for, um, awhile and honestly we don’t often run into random cats in our travels. Plus she’d been tethered to a picnic table while I was trying to take photos of the crane pictured above and she took the opportunity to bark her head off at two dogs walking by with their owner. I wasn’t really near enough to correct her for that and in general I don’t really care if she barks at things when she isn’t working.
Anyway, in what is truly perfect timing, Becky from Fidelco is coming today for a follow-up evaluation. I talked with her yesterday about the intermittent issues I’ve had with the animal distraction and from what she said it seems to be a common issue with Uschi’s litter. I think we’ll probably go for another park walk today, though, I’m going to suggest Central Park since they treat the lake there and it’s basically bug-free. Either way I am glad to get in more work with Uschi on this particular issue.