Saturday, November 15, 2008


short walk on trail 1 this morning, had to get back in time for a class for the hallster. she's 2, she's still not quite sure about doing what i ask her to do all of the time. which is probably my fault. so it's good for both of us to have a refresher. love those lifetime classes!

it was a beautiful blue sky morning. trail still frozen when we started out, but dried out enough not to be a problem anyway.

speaking of training, as we rounded the corner i saw a white longish haired dog on the trail below rocketing back & forth. well, on the trail is probably not quite accurate. also saw 2 bikes coming up the trail. sat the dogs down & took a look to see what was up.

heard a woman yelling "Cleo! Cleo! Come!" (maybe Leo) the dog totally ignored her, at which point she started apologizing to the mt bike riders on the trail. i heard her say something to her friend (whose dog was leashed) about how she worries because her dog isn't very visible in the brush & she could dart in front of a bike and get hurt (or something similar).

first, let me tell you that i have absolutely been there. tara bouve was AWFUL (by which i mean sadly untrained- i take all of the blame here). i did the fishwife yell more times than i can count (ta-ra come here NOW!) it never worked. she got lost in the owyhees. she took off after a herd of deer on the south fork. she chased a rodent under a rock & was damn near bitten by a rattlesnake (this after snake training).

tara spent the last years of her life on leash or tied out in camp because i t was better for everyone (safer for her, less nerve wracking for me). she was my learner dog, poor girl. i decided that it wasn't fair to anyone to go down that road again.

for some reason, i tend toward, shall we say, independent breeds (some would say stubborn). clearly puppy school and basic obedience aren't enough for how i want to live with my dogs. it's important to me to have them off leash and behave. having recall is HIGH on my priority list, as is walking on a slack leash and good dog manners. i am not a good trainer. i get bored with repetition, but i can be consistent.

i like herding/working breeds, which tend to be more protective & territorial and don't always take kindly to strange dogs invading their space.

i am here to tell you that if i can decide that it is important to train myself (mostly) and my dogs so that we can enjoy the trails and not bother other users anyone can do it.

are we perfect? no. but i am doing my best to keep learning and improving.

enough of that. it's just that things are so much better- for me and for the dogs- since we work on training. i am much less stressed (and spend less time being embarrassed and apologizing) knowing that the dogs will come when called. they're much safer.

i know feeling helpless and being scared and defensive. i also know that it doesn't have to be that way.

here's todays' reminder that there are lots of people who want to use the trails. there are not many motorized trails available. not that i want to hike on trails where i'm likely to run into a motorcycle or 4 wheeler, just that we all think our type of recreation is important, we all pay taxes and are entitled to have a spot to enjoy.

time for a glass of wine! have a great weekend-

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