We live on the West Coast of Canada on Vancouver Island. We are the rainforest of Canada. We don’t really do snow here. This is important information because Luke has only ever seen a couple of snowfalls in his life and none of them have been that bad or long lasting. I grew up in Ontario. I was stuck when the army had to bail out Toronto and the rest of Canada laughed. I lived in Alberta for 9 years and did the prairie meets the Rocky Mountains winters. I am not a fan of snow, I’ve had enough of it and say power to the people who love it, I should have been born some place warm and tropical.
Luke loves the snow. He loves it! He goes nuts for it. We recently got slammed with snow. Downtown Victoria wasn’t hit half as bad as we were on the Saanich Peninsula. My bus did not run right for 2 days and I got a forced holiday as nothing was plowed and it just kept coming down. We don’t have a real snow budget here. Luke is in love with going to his pit right now because it is packed with snow. Gross, slowly melting snow.
Because the sidewalks were not cleared and the roads were not safe Luke went without his walks for a week and a half. He played in the yard and went crazy next door. We didn’t risk driving and sliding down hills and I wasn’t having him drag me through the unshoveled walkways. We had a couple feet of snow fall. His energy around this event has been through the roof.
There is something wonderful about watching a dog roll around in the snow. Luke could have even appeared like any other dog. As it slowly melts (in our yard it is still present) reality sets in. My reactive dog has had fun but the routine that we have been developing for months is now severely off track.
I have been trying to remember to finish this post since mid February and now we are mid March. So what is the fallout from the sudden cold snap and snow?
Luke is tugging more and ignoring commands for the first half of his walks. He is distracted now that there is grass again to chew on. He is over sniffing and reacting to everything. Last night it was a squirrel, the night before it was a person standing at the side of the road waiting for a ride home. Now that we have been forced to set our clocks ahead by an hour it went from dark walks to light walks without a natural transition. This means everything is suddenly different.
Snow and daylight savings time. I curse you both on behalf of Luke. He is not as bad on the walk back however we now need to re-establish the control at the beginning of the walk. There is energy and push back. He is pushing back on putting his gear on. While there was snow his pit in the yard was fine and fun and now it is a scary place again because the snow is almost all gone. Putting on his gear is the worst thing in the world, what am I doing to him? Nothing that I am not doing to myself before heading out.
I suppose being normal would be no fun. I have enjoyed discovering all of my gear, now I need for him to rediscover how great it was to get geared up and not have his neck pulled by a traditional collar. Time to reinvent the wheel again. We must condition from super amazing what is this stuff fun, to everyone and there dog is suddenly out because of the light at our time. I’m considering scouting a well leashed area just so we can hang back and watch dogs pass while burning through the treat pack in hopes that he can keep his head on straight. I say good luck to me on that because the leash only zones are overrun with off leash dogs. Right now we are pulling, alert and barking at everything that moves and somethings that don’t move, who knew there was a rock there?!?
I still wouldn’t trade home for the world and I know with enough work and praise he will get back on track and we can keep moving forward. Luke will be 5 in September and I hope by the time he has his birthday some of the fear, anxiety and vigilance he has been feeling will be a little bit less. On the bright side, in another 5 years he’ll be 10 and isn’t that when they’re perfect and you wish you could dial the clock back and do it all over again with them? I wish I could do that now, there is so much I would do different for him.