Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Adventure Hound

Summit and I go hiking on trails near the house whenever I have the opportunity to take him for a longer walk. This requires that the stars align just right. The weather has to be decent, I have to finish school early enough that it's still daylight, and I can't have any major exams upcoming that I need to study for. Today was such a day so we went to the dog park. The park is surrounded by wooded areas and in these wooded areas are some very nice trails.

Pose pretty like for Mommy!
Summit absolutely LOVES hiking on the trails. His ears are up the entire time, which never happens when walking around our neighbourhood. Normally he has them laid back and his head sort of lowered, and when something interests him both go up, and then return to their normal "idling" position. On the trails his head is up and his ears are straight up like a Shepherd almost constantly. He just looks like he's really enjoying himself.

Is this pretty?
It was raining this morning when we got up, and it was raining the entire time I was at school, so I was really disappointed. The weather had been beautiful yesterday but I was at school until very late, and today when I would be done early it looked as though the weather was going to say "screw you!" to my plans of going hiking. But fortunately right as I was leaving school the sun started to break through, and by the time I had collected Summit and was driving to the dog park the skies were blue and it was warming up.

I just bought Summit a harness and 8 foot leash for hiking. He has almost no prey drive so I don't worry about him taking off after something, getting up to speed and then hurting his neck, but I found that he would stop to sniff things and if I didn't notice then he was getting jerked on his neck, and also despite the 8 foot leash most of the time he chose to just stick right by my side as if we were on a normal walk. With the harness he walks on ahead of me, off to the side, behind, wherever he wants, which was the point of the longer lead and the point of hiking! It's almost as if to him a collar means "work" and a harness means "play".

On one of the trails there is this bridge across a small river. "Bridge" is sort of a loose term. Even I'm careful about where I put my feet on this thing. The first time we hiked this trail we were with a friend of mine and her dog, and as we came up to it she said, "I don't know if he [Summit] will cross this. I'll carry him for you if he won't", but Summit followed me across without hesitation. Having him cross it ahead of me requires a bit more communication, but as you can see he has no qualms. I'm hoping when he meets the dog walk in agility he will have the same laid back attitude.

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