Loc: Northern California
I used to hike with my American pits, Hemingway and Penny. I absolutely did NOT want pit bulls--truly--but at my business in a rough part of town, these two dogs showed up as strays (a few months apart as pups)and...well it was meant to be. I kept them at work with me and trained them daily, so they would absolutely obey my few commands, "Stay" and "Come." In fact, I remember hiking along the American River, Hemingway fanning out on my left and Penny on the right, when a deer burst out running. Hemingway, the male, instantly gave chase. I yelled, "Hem-ing-way--come!" and he stopped and returned. I knew then I had a special dog. Penny stayed, too, never giving chase in the first place.
Another time my buddy and I were encamped along Cole Creek and it was late. We'd hiked a distance, and Hemingway was tired. He wandered over to the tent and said Woof. "No, you wait, bud; it's not bedtime yet," I told him. Then I hear a CRASH. He had jumped up on top of my tent, cracking a fiberglass pole in the process! We were laughing too hard to get angry. (I let the dogs in the tent.)
Back in the 90s I mountain biked a trail along the American River outside of Auburn, the dogs running alongside me. The trail ended and it looked like it continued on the other side. So naturally I dove in the river with mountain bike in tow and swam the snow-melt cold to the other side. Penny dutifully swam with me, but Hemingway just found a spot in the sun and looked back over at me and said, "Woof." In essence he said, "You guys can be stupid by crossing this river, but I'm too pretty and smart to be joining you in such a foolish endeavor."
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
I trained by Yellow Lab X, Pooch for a short time doing SAR. The first time he figured out our "alert" and did it was awesome. An alert is when your dog finds the person/body and comes back to you and alerts you. Some train their dog to bark, drop a rock or stick in front of you as to alert you that he has something to take you back to. My alert for Pooch was to come and sit in front of me. How in the world do you get a animal to understand what you expect of them? He died about 10 years back of cancer. Good bear dog too, he only barked when bears were around. Did not have to train him on that. Duane
Loc: San Diego CA
I've still got the beast this story is about. Tica (my avatar) is a Shorthaired Pointer. They are bred to be athletic and confident for hunting. Apparently they are bred for a wicked sense of humor too. At 5 months of age, Tica KNEW (she was NOT, but she figured she was) the fastest dog on the planet. And up until meeting up with a greyhound, she could back it up. She could reel in whippets on about the 10th or 12th stride. She can't do it anymore, but she hated to lose any kind of competition.
Her first time to the beach was at a dog beach in Coronado, where people foolishly lay out on the sand while the dogs play. Walking in the sand to the dog area, she is leashed up and running laps around me as we walk. She was a handful on a good day. The strategy is to take her to the dog area as far away from everything as possible to cut her loose. Because after that, it will be a good 5 minutes of total pandemonium. Seriously. The likely hood of calling her back in that first 5 min is about 0.1%. So we head out to an area in the deep sand about a football field's distance away from everything, take a deep breath, and cut her loose. Within seconds, she is at the waters edge mixing it up with the other dogs. You can hear the sound of their barking change as they, one by one, start to give chase to Tica. This is exactly what she wants. Within a minute she has close to 15 dogs running as fast as they can trying to catch her. They try to box her in, but she springs over their backs and hits high gear, leaving them in the dust and kind of upset. She has them all worked up now, and sets her sights on a group of 5 who are cluelessly laid out about 100 ft down the beach. At speed, with the entire collection of worked up dogs in tow, she jumps over all 5 people laying down. The other dogs didn't even try to jump and just plowed over the people laying on the beach. Meanwhile, Tica hit top gear and was flying down the beach into the dog prohibited area with me running after her desperately trying to get her attention. It had been a little over 3 minutes.
Epilog; she is a good dog now, although she still has that sense of humor. If I call and she can hear, she will come. Could be a half mile away (by whistle). With hand signals or voice, she will sit or lay down 1 football field away. And she will not leave the front yard without permission, even if a cat is close by. She will be violently shaking, but she will stay. All that took about 3 years of hard work and HAD to be done. Hardest headed dog I ever had
You DID say memorable....not necessarily in a good way...
Loc: San Diego CA
Duane, I have LOTS of memorable, but not in a good way, stories about Tica. The other day I asked my wife if Tica at 5 months was the "worst" Tica? She answers the entire first two years were the worst. .
As with all Labs, ours had an affinity for water. She was trained to NOT enter the water when I was fishing, and for the most part she obeyed. On a trip up a brookie stream in Vt., we camped on a broader, shallow section in a meadow that held few fish compared to deeper waters elsewhere, so I let Abbey have her fun. While we were busy cooking dinner , I'd hear her splashing, then not, repeated several times over. Too late we discovered she was having a great time getting wet , then drying herself on our sleeping bags in the tent. She slept outside that night.
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
As with all Labs, ours had an affinity for water.
Hysson did, too, but he never learned to swim. Even when other dogs were around and swimming, his only swimming stroke was a quick turn back to shore as soon as the water touched his belly. One time we were on a cross-country trip, camping on the shores of Lake Superior. I put on my swim suit, waded out to chest deep, and called Hysson. He bravely swam out to me--but when he got to me, he immediately tried to climb on top of me. That ended his swimming experiences permanently! Wading, fine, (as in my avatar) but swimming, no.
He also wouldn't retrieve, although that was probably due to his overbite (undershot lower jaw). So much for all those Labrador/Golden Retriever genes!
On the other hand, he became a sweet and obedient dog and a great hiking buddy, even though we had a few adventures (although not quite as adventurous as Skreidic and Tica's, lol!). They say that with Labs, they chew and dig for two years and shed for a lifetime. I'd want to add another year to the chewing and digging; Hysson was almost 3 when he decided to excavate my lawn sprinkler system. Of course I'm still vacuuming up dog hair two months after his demise. I cry a little every time.
I'm starting to look for a young dog or puppy to start the process over again!
Edited by OregonMouse (08/06/1310:59 PM)
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey