Monday, February 18, 2013

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A Blustery Day: Or How Zumba Turned into a Leaf Distraction Walk

On Saturday, Zoe and I decided that we needed to get back to exercising and that we were going to Zumba.  And I thought, now, why wouldn't Coach want to join us on this brand new experience?

Zoe and Coach outside the YMCA before Zumba class.  They both look happy and ready.
It was about 2/3's full when we arrived and we went all the way to the back so we would be as far from the speakers as possible.  This isn't my first Zumba experience with a guide dog (HRH Berkeley and I did Zumba together, once), after all.  So, it was interesting to have a lady come up to me and say,

"You really shouldn't have him here.  It gets very loud." She was looking pointedly at Coach and seemed a bit vexed with me.

I gave her a smile and said, "Oh, I've been to Zumba before." But before I could continue, she jumped in, "Have you? It's very loud."

"Yes. I know.  The visually impaired go to exercise classes as well as we do.  I have brought a guide dog puppy to Zumba and there used to be a guide dog in training who came to one of these classes a couple of years ago regularly."

She looked at me and I could tell I hadn't reached her.  She looked at Coach, who wagged his tail politely. Then she walked up to the front to talk to the instructor. I'm not sure what she said, but I think that the volume of Zumba was a level or so lower for Coach's sake.  Coach was fine.

Well, he was fine and then he wasn't.  He was actually confused.  Here he is in his down-stay.

Coach in a down-stay in front of the step aerobic steps.

When the music started, soft or not, Coach sat up at attention, then he went into a down.  Then when we began to move, he got up to move with us.  So, I put him in a down stay.  He was fine as long as the dance steps didn't change.  But as soon as we were off into a tango, he was off to see what we were doing now.  Dance to the left, ok.  Dance to the right, he got up.  But he always went right back into a down-stay.

Here is a little video of him watching us.

After about 20 minutes of this up and down, I decided that it was much better to leave on a positive note and since he was happy and behaving, that we would leave Zoe to Zumba and go out on the track and walk.

It turned out to be a blustery, Winnie the Pooh day and the leaves were flying everywhere.

Coach is looking up at me as if to ask for permission to chase a leaf.
Coach had developed a sudden desire to chase leaves.  Now, we had something to work with!  Leaf distractions.  There were literally thousands of oak leaves on the ground and it was windy.  We walked and walked around the track.  We did right abouts.  We stopped in front of piles of leaves and sat and waited for wind.  Yes, we waited.

Coach, sitting by a pile of leaves waiting for the wind.
He got to be good at ignoring the wind and leaves.  I could still see the desire in his eyes, but it was dampened.  Slightly, dampened.

That's right, good boy!

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