For people who work with animals, springtime as a symbol for everything nice: no more muddy paddocks, no more wet dog paws (or entire bodies!), no more constant rain and snow… Now we can just go out in the field and walk up to our horse without losing a rain boot.
But should we? In the warm, dry seasons we tend to get lazy about our training. Sure, we have so much more time to do things with our animals and, in that sense, more is getting done. On the other hand, we neglect to think ahead.
It’s the little things – like walking up to our horse every time we put the halter on instead of having them meet us at the gate. Or letting our dogs rush into the house after a walk. This doesn’t seem like a problem – we might not even notice it. Until the rain comes and, with it, the mud.
All of a sudden we don’t feel like walking to the other end of the paddock (through the mud, the watery piles of manure, hoping we don’t suddenly step out of our rain boot) and we wish our dogs wouldn’t run into the house with their muddy paws.
What other things could you train for in the spring and summer that might come in handy in the wet and cold months? They’re all little habits and may seem mundane, but anything is worth the time if it makes your life even that much easier.
See if you can teach (or cause) your horse to come meet you at the gate – even if that starts with meeting them halfway. Or teach your dogs to wait outside patiently while you take off your boots, jacket and get a towel. That way, you can calmly dry them off before calling them into the house.
All of my dogs learn this – I open the door, drop the leashes and none of them can take a step through that door until I call them in. It is a really helpful habit to teach!
Now… go! Enjoy the weather