Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A walk with Tess

 Daily I try to go to an area where I can take a walk or bike ride with Tess off leash.

Tess is a dog that really resents being restrained for anything (less is more to get cooperation from this dog!) She views a leash as just one more way that a choice is imposed without her opinion being heard. 

Since walking her regularly off leash I am struck by the difference between what she gets out the walk versus me, as the human. 

I keep a constant pace.  Tess runs around using her eyes and nose to explore and look.  She alternates between full speed running, holding points at various interesting things off the trail and trotting ahead of me on the trail.

The eyes seem to be her most important sense --> she's constantly LOOKING and seems to use her nose only to reinforce her eyes. 

It's obviously movement that attracts her --> often she seems to have trouble finding me against the background when I call her, unless I move my arm or other part of my body.  When I call she freezes and looks, but doesn't move towards me until she can actually identify where I am by sight.  If she's out of sight, she will bound into where she thinks I should be in "sight range", freeze and look, and if I'm still not in sight, move towards my voice, where again she will freeze and look.  Only once she has identified me by sight for sure (often attracted by me moving) will she bolt all the way back to me nonstop. 

I've never been around a dog that so intensely LOOKS.  

Usually up ahead on the trail, she'll finding something to look/point at, wait until I catch up to her, and then go bounding up ahead to find something else worthy of her attention. 

I'm most surprised that she sticks to the trails ahead of me and doesn't often go darting off trail to look or explore.  And most often, even if she finds something to stare out, she doesn't often go off trail to pursue a closer look.  Looks like she'll be an excellent trail dog for my conditioning horse rides!!!!

 At the beginning of the walk, she quickly finds a squirrel hole that can fit her entire head (unfortunatley the pic of the headless dog didn't turn out)
 Here she waits for it to come out.....
 Looking at....something....

Checking back in with me

 Trotting ahead
 More looking and staring
 A little off trail exploring.
 A beautiful lane
 A bit too far ahead.......

 Is there something interesting there?
 Not to human eyes!

Monday, December 3, 2012


The situations I never thought I, nay, make that never IMaGINED I would be dealing with when I made the decision to get a dog,

Take this morning for instance.

I let the dogs out, just as usual.

After getting dressed I went to the door to let them in for breakfast, just as usual.

They were not at the door, which was weird because it was raining. Like its rained for the last week (yes, the ark is half built behind the house).

And they weren't coming when called. Also weird.

So I step out onto the front lawn.

To be greeted by the site of three dogs running around the yard with their noses on the ground. Chasing gophers.

Lots of gophers. Who apparently didn't build an ark or have the foresight to evolve gills and were forced to run around above ground.

Bingo (cattle dog mix) is well versed in gophers and was busy dispatching and gulping down these breakfast appetizers.

Reed (golden retriever) was trying to figure out whether they fit into the category of birds (pick them up gently and deliver to the next available human), or whether they were little kitties (be wary and very afraid and go to the nearest humans sans furry object to be comforted and protected).

Tess was tracking, and poking them inquisitively with her nose while the angry gopher made angry gopher sounds. She hadn't yet tried the bite and shake technique perfected on countless squeaky toys, with the bite and crunch that she uses on raw chicken necks, but it was definitely headed in that direction.

I was definitely "squeeded" (some apparent expression of disgust I heard from a teenybopper the other day) and there may have been some screeching and shrieking and dancing around on my part.

Puppies were removed. I was too gutless to dispatch the rodents so they got to disperse into the hedges.

All the dogs remained in the house (except Tess who went with me of course) and did NOT go outside.

Being the morning gopher savior? Not on my list of top ten reasons to own dogs.