Thursday, July 31, 2008

got to stay!

trip cancelled- whew!

these are the two young racoons we saw sitting in a tree across the street on the way to the reserve this morning. i was hoping for a better shot, but of course couldn't get too close with the dogs- and i think this is kind of funny.... like halloween

beautiful morning.

headed into the reserve, i saw a woman on 11th running with her dog leashed. as we came up 10th i saw the dog dashing around camel's back, and the woman running up the trail. no way she could have known where the dog was or what it was doing- if it pooped, she most certainly didn't see to pick it up. dog sniffed & ran around the park a bit then took off down the trail after its owner.

2 women standing near the parking lot on 9th st. chocolate lab in the weeds behind the split rail fence that says stay out of this area. i stopped, asked if it was their dog, asked if they could keep it from coming up to us as we went by & asked if she was aware she could get a $60 ticket. while we were having this discussion, the dog was pooping in the weeds. no bag, no pick up. after having the leash discussion, i wasn't up to being the poop police too, so i left it. these women also started running & the dog took off running high above the trail, never in sight. again- she has no idea what her dog is doing.

picking up opp when a dog comes running up from the pond and startles me (and my dogs, who are on leash, b/c we are in the on leash area). i exclaim, owner calls dog back, leashes it and asks if everything is ok when they pass. i said yes, just startled, and my dogs are on leash in the on leash area and loose and leashed dogs don't mix so well. she just replied she thought it was the off leash area.

2 grocery bags of opp from red fox. someone picked up chickadee- thanks so much- probably either bob or steve or both.

plus side- had the dogs sitting when 2 gals with a yellow lab were coming up & the onwer asked if i wanted her to get her dog. i said yes and it was all good.

things have certainly been much better- this is the first day like this i've had in a very long time. it does explain the amount of poop on red fox. off leash is not the problem, not being controlled and not picking up is. pretty simple. dogs can get just as much exercise running with their owners on the trail in sight and it's a lot safer for the dog. not to mention more respectful of others.

haven't done the soapbox for a while, so there it is....

11 with (most very well behaved & following rules); 8 without

it's nearly friday!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

middle of the week

another beautiful morning. nice and cool out, managed to run a bit. i will have to pick up when i get back from phoenix, tho- opp piling up on red fox & chickadee. it just really confuses me. i have seen lots more people out in the mornings, tho, so i imagine it's busier in general since it's not 100.

we will have more leashes (provided by windermere/richard b smith real estate) in a few weeks, with some nice tags to remind people to bring them back, courtesy of erik. in the meantime, we have empty hooks, so if you have an old leash or two to donate, please do so.

saw anne hausrath yesterday, and she said she has noticed compliance with leash laws is still good. she did ask us to remind people that bagging poop is a good first step, but it also needs to be taked to the trash can & thrown away.

5 with (glad i caught dave with daisy this morning! and 11 without.

i must be later than i was in june- i am missing the usual group, but i want to be sure it's light when i'm up there. too many years in big cities.

off to phoenix early tomorrow, no posts unless tracy or paula are inspired. halle & echo get to walk with someone from healthy hounds...... i'll be back saturday-

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


i almost didn't make my loop this morning- work has been insane- 12 hr days, not one day off in the past 2 weeks- starts to wear on a person. then there's all of the other stuff that needs to be done- like eating, having relationships, some sort of relaxation- none of this is foreign to most of you i'm sure.

then i realized i was thinking about not doing the one thing that keeps me sane. not a great idea! and it was a beautiful morning- the pink clouds glowing in the sky, the bullfrogs singing, watching halle do her silly sideways rocking horse run down the trail and watching her & echo play. i ignored the opp to be picked up, went in sure that we would have good encounters with everyone we met- and we did. and now i am in better shape to face another long day at my computer.

as i've said before, the trails are a treasure.

around 20 without & 11 with. leashed where necessary, all dogs under control and good. we sat by the side of the trail for 3 to pass & since the dogs went by & we were sitting it all worked out fine. it's a space thing.

one loose dog running rampant- some sort of small white bird dog with a dark head zooming around.

nice, cool, busy morning...... now, off to do the job that makes it all possible :)

Monday, July 28, 2008

monday july 28

nice and cool this morning. still quite smoky. need to buy an olympus back up bat for the camera- the off brand one just doesn't hold a charge so not many photos this am.

5 with, 10 without, including a pack of mt bikes as we were between the pond & the camel's back entrance. i am going to guess that, just like some dog owners don't think about the fact that not everyone wants to meet their dog, some mt bike riders have no idea how fast it seems they are going to those of us on the ground. 2 of the 5 did say "on your left"- which is helpful no matter how wide the trail, especially with 2 large leashed dogs. one went flying by- i was compelled to call "faster" (yeah, i'm impressed too, but he startled me, and was going faster than i was comfortable with.)

all dogs & owners good. looks like the weekenders left us some clean up to do tomorrow.

have a great week!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

lazy sunday

we practiced our manners on leash around the neighborhood yesterday and went for a swim in the afternoon. another thing we really need from parks & rec is a place to take dogs to swim and for hunters to be able to train water retrieves. guess that's the rivers part of ridge to rivers.

very nice walk this morning, but quite smoky.

i find it really interesting that parts of this trail (the beginning, mostly) have lots of cheat, then it gets better- and i wonder of that's because the sheep were here earlier this year & ate the cheat while it was green, when it is actually edible. not that we didn't have our usual fun picking stuff out of echo's hair when we got home.

nice & cool at 8 am- about 60 degrees. one other hiker with a dog, a runner & one solo mt biker, one group of 2 riders.

nice, quiet, peaceful sunday morning.

Friday, July 25, 2008

back to normal

another beautiful morning. managed to run.

5 with/ 5 without, everyone good and polite.

nice mt bike experience- running up the hill by the pond on red fox, bikers stopped at the top to give us right of way. this is the spot i was concerned about getting in a tangle with leashed dogs & bikes a month or so ago. it would be doable for both, but tight.

thinking about yesterday and observing my dog. we walk by fences with dogs going nuts & running back & forth no problem. dog park, no problem. when he sees a dog on the trail ahead of us, he stops and looks back at me to ask what to do. when that happens, i call both dogs back, get them in a heel or sit or go down another path. all of those things work out as long as the other dog doesn't come up to us uninvited. control the controllables.

friday!!!! great day everyone-

Thursday, July 24, 2008

all shook up

i had echo and halle sitting by the side of the trail, focused on treats. didn't have a hold of either of them because the approaching runner was calling his lab. we have been good sitting with other dogs going by. i was standing between the dogs and the trail so they would focus on me. the lab stuck his nose in (i didn't see the approach, of course) and he & echo got into a growling rolling argument. when i grabbed echo he backed off immediately. loud, scary, no blood.

runner leashed his dog and ran off, not a word.

i am not happy that echo wouldn't off when i told him. it was good that as soon as i grabbed him he quit. i just always have to keep a hold of him when i see loose dogs. i was tired this morning, and have gotten used to people asking before letting their dogs approach, but can't count on it.

although i am not happy with my dog's behavior, i can't blame it all on him. the other dog was right in his face. the owner let him/her come running up to us when we were sitting. he was being a dog. in the end, tho, it's my job to keep him safe, so i am back to calling out to people to please keep their dogs away from us.

some of you will find this a weird concept, but i know other people who have similar situations. some dogs are more territorial or protective. most of these dogs are great with dogs they know, and with people but maybe not so much with strange dogs. we can have our dogs under control (on a leash, in a sit stay) but still be villains because someone whose dog isn't under control doesn't understand or respect the situation and keep their dog away.

this is also where knowing what trails are on leash and having that enforced is helpful- it is no fun to have a dog that needs to be leashed (even if it's because they don't have good recall) constantly approached by off leash dogs. when a dog is leashed, the flight option (fight or flight reaction to percieved threat) is gone, and they may feel more protective of their owner, which can cause problems.

i also picked up 2 large bags of opp on the red fox/ chickadee loop today- after doing the same on tuesday.

discouraging day all in all.

lost count of with/without because i was a bit discombobulated.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

short stuff

short night, short blog...... on a side note, tho, lyle lovett was great last night, and the botanical garden is a fab place to see a show :)

lovely run/walk this am- nice and cool, and the sage smelled great due to the moisture.

9 without, 6 with....... no strange encounters
have a great day!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

strange day

two sort of strange experiences this morning. first was i had halle & echo off to the side so that the runner & walker i saw coming could easily pass- wide part of the trail, they were in a sit & i was between them & the trail. runner went by, said thanks, nice dogs, kept going.

walker took off up hill right by a this is not a trail do not walk back here sign. maybe she is seriously scared of dogs. i am really curious, b/c i don't know what more we could have done, and i feel kind of bad. but they were in a sit stay and made no move toward the runner when she went by, so who knows?

then, as i was in the bushes getting opp in the on leash area, black lab yellow lab come running up, halle & echo say back off (they were leashed), i hear a bike go down. ask the rider if she's ok, say i'm sorry, it's just that on leash/off leash thing (trying to be nice & make a point). she's fine, says she can't walk her dogs on leash either. i said i can walk mine on leash, it's just difficult when loose dogs come running up. she responds with well, i can't walk mine on leash and if i didn't bring them up here to run off leash they'd never get out of the house. so i told her i was sorry for her & hoped she didn't get ticketed.

ok- one word- training. you have the power. invest some time, do some reading, either find a trainer or look on the internet. try a halter. you are not a victim. how do the dogs get from the house to the park? i know what it's like to feel like you have an uncontrollable dog. but, as with most things, education is the answer.

she's probably not picking up after them either. and if she's letting the dogs go running up to other dogs that are leashed, they're probably running up to people who don't really want to meet them either. the proverbial bad apple. who also happens to be someone who is doing the best she can and wants to be sure her dogs get out & get exercise.

so how do we reach people like this?

busy busy day- 8 with, 20 without....

Monday, July 21, 2008

monday monday

beautiful skies again- and the moon was just gorgeous as well. i love the gold of the dried grasses (more when it's native & not cheat, but not much i can do about that right now) and dark skies- whether it's stormy ones or sunrise/sunset.

10 without, 8 with, one dog w/o owner. heard lots of yipping/yowling/barking as we started our walk- couldn't tell if it was domestic or wild, now wondering if the b/w border collie looking dog i saw w/o a person was harassing a fox or coyote den.

off to a bust day, glad i started it the way i did!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

harrison hollow

went to harrison hollow for the first time- i know, i can't believe i've never been there either. it was fairly busy, especially as we came back down.

imho, this is the biggest reason we have trail issues. growth. in the foothills and in the valley. the more people, the more pressure, the more opportunity for conflict. pretty simple recipe. and the more that's built in the foothills, the more stress on wildlife, native plants, etc.

hh is not part of ridge to rivers, it is open through the good graces of the landowner, and in danger of being developed. there is a group working on a campaign to save the area.

this is a long time off leash dog walking spot. so if it is saved and goes to r2r i hope that the dog owners who contribute to the cause can continue to use the trails. off leash.

bringing again to mind the question- if there was a serial levy tomorrow, how many dog owners would vote for it? i've heard from quite a few that they wouldn't. not until they are assured reasonable off leash access. need to see how much of a majority is needed, but i have to believe that would have a negative impact on chances of passage.

this is how much opp we picked up and put in the car to bring home & throw away. i wonder how i would feel if this is how people respected land i was kind enough to let them use.

echo picked up more foxtail and cheat here than anywhere else ever.

great weekend all!

Friday, July 18, 2008

good dogs, good owners

good thoughts to caralea and freddy, her 7 yo vizsla- catahoula mix who was just diagnosed with stage v leukemia. it's in his bones and maybe his organs and they'll be lucky to have another month. i hope it's a good month.

this is lemp street between 15 & 14. nice, huh?

today's count was neck & neck, but ended up at 8 with and 12 without (dave, you should have brought daisy with you!) lots of bike activity this morning for some reason. everyone polite & well mannered.

more pink skies. getting light later in the morning, which really makes me aware of the passage of time and that we're headed toward fall.

echo was on the hunt all morning. we have a young raccoon who has decided that the silver lace vine over the trellis is a good spot to live, and he drives the dogs crazy.

this morning i saw echo on the porch in hunt mode (see the "dunce cap" photo- when his little pointy ears go together we call it his dunce cap because he is clearly thinking thoughts that will only get him in trouble.) when i saw him try to open the screen door by pushing on the latch with his nose i knew i'd want to keep a close eye on him this morning.

sure enough, he was looking really hard for something, but thanks to our work with paula, i can call him off and he listens. for me, it's about watching him and intervening before he gets engaged.

mentioned because for me training makes all of the difference in enjoying the trails. as you may have noticed, i can't say enough good about training with paula mccollum. i have friends who speak equally highly of other trainers in the valley.

we got echo as an adult, and he knew that when the leash was off he didn't have to come back. i knew i wanted to be able to hike off leash with him, so i started looking for a training method that i could follow through with. good at consistency, not so much at mind numbing repetition. my dogs don't respond to that so well either. so i asked around and called some trainers and talked to them and did a consult with paula and here we are with a solid recall.

we're not perfect, but we keep working on it and learning. i see lots of other dog owners out there doing the same.

happy friday!