Saturday, January 23, 2010

Enjoying the open space after a storm

When I was a boy of about 7, I could walk up in the hills above the little town of Camarillo, California, for hours on my own or with a small band of friends and find peace and happiness. Today, in Shell Ridge open space, I found peace like that again.

We can get caught up in the day-to-day duties of making a living. Sometimes we need to take time to live.

This morning at 9 o'clock the air was fresh, the grass was very green and the paths were terribly muddy. It had rained on and off all night.

Chloe, Bailey and I had the Shell Ridge open space practically to ourselves for two and a half hours. We walked the main valley trail south and then turned back and took the "Ridge Trial" back north. I walked along the trails and the dogs ran the hills and valleys on both sides. I might have walked 5 miles, but the dogs would have gone 20 miles with all of the side trips. Great time.

Did come across a couple other folks walking their young Vizslas. One little female was 14 months old and a young male of just 7 months. These Vizsla owners were very proud of their dogs and spend time each day out with them.
They "get it" regarding these dogs and what Vizslas need.

Just as we got to to the open space and parked, we came across a great guy and his two Weimaraners. These were big dogs compared to my two. His males are 85 pounds and 105 pounds. Bailey weighs in at 56 and Chloe a light 44.

We talked about the open space's coyotes. He told me that both of his Weims had been nipped by coyotes over the years, but the dogs had gotten smart about how to deal with the coyotes and pretty much leave them alone. One lone coyote paid the ultimate price when he found out that Weims are strong hunting dogs and not just soft domestic house pets.

Readers have asked me about the training collar I use. Bailey wears his Tri Tronics G3 training collar when we go on these walks because he has to understand that "leave it" is not a request but a demand. With a high-powered and determined hunting dog, I need to establish control with Bailey. This allows me to give him the freedom he has while he "hunts birds" and I walk. There can be 5-minute periods during a walk when I don't see Bailey. I read early last year in a dog behavior book that it is the dog's job to know where I am, not my job to know where he is. This has worked so far.

With our training, if I blow the whistle, Bailey happily comes to me, but for the most part he is allowed to be the hunting dog he was breed to be.

This is the trust we are building. He is still young and tests me from time to time.

Tri Tronics Sport Basic G3 Dog Training Collar

Chloe, on the other hand, never has had a training collar on, but she is happy staying within 100 yards of me most of the time unless she is chasing her brother through the bushes.

Chloe and Bailey are very different Vizslas.

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