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Posts Tagged ‘dog playing in water’

This morning turned out way better than yesterday morning.

Yesterday morning, we loaded up early to get out training before it hit 99 degrees F. Winger, birds, training bag, dogs all ready to head out to the St. Louis Ponds training grounds. We got there nice and early, only to discover that the place was crawling with dogs and their people for a retriever hunt test.

Oops. Can’t train there.

So we turned around and headed out to the training grounds on Sauvie Island. We had our dog training permit and parking pass along with us, so that seemed all good. It’s just that after an hour driving down to St. Louis Ponds, and an hour and a half back up to Sauvie Island, the temperature had zoomed up into the humid mid-80s.

We trained anyway. Tooey did a fine job doing her “hunt dead”, looking for a pheasant hidden about 45 yards out away from Russ. But poor Carlin, who really doesn’t handle heat very well, had a hard time keeping his mind on the job. On his second marked retrieve, he ran out just fine to pick up the bird, but rather than coming right back to me, he headed off across the field toward the bowl of water and the shade of the car. I coaxed him back to me, but it wasn’t pretty. That’s about all we got done before the temps hit the upper 80s and we decided to call it a day.

So, today, we left even earlier and headed straight to Sauvie Island. By the time we set up, it was in the mid-70s and humid again, so this time, I started Carlin in the shade, so that he’d want to come back to me with his bird. Russ threw two single retrieves. Carlin was nice and steady at the line, ran straight out, hunted around a bit, got each of his two birds, and brought them back to within about 5 feet of me before he sat, holding his bird. I called him to my side, and thankfully, he held onto his bird even while moving into heel position.

Tooey didn’t particularly want to do her hunt dead this morning. Way too many delectable cow pies to distract her from on her out to the bird. But with some help, she finally did it. And Carlin did a nice short sight blind, too.

So with that good work, we decided to reward ourselves with a trip to the river. We’d brought the kayak just in case, and sure enough, the spot we found a couple of weeks ago was open, just waiting for two panting dogs and their people. The tide was going out, and that made the current decidedly swift, so we stayed in the eddy that curled along the bank. Even so, the dogs got in lots of leaping, splashing, and swimming.

The sound on the video is odd. Because the video is in slow motion, the sound of my voice is distorted. It sounds to me like there is a monster advancing onto the innocent party of dogs. But even so, what a delight! Look at how beautifully Carlin drives off the edge of the bank and reaches way out on his way to the water’s surface. And Tooey, throwing herself with abandon into her favorite element, the water. At the beginning of the video, Carlin looks to Tooey, “wanna jump?” and at the end they look at each other, “wanna do it again?”

Yes. Yes we do.

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One piece of advice I got after Cooper died was to start some new activities and traditions. Do something that will make me happy because it makes my dogs happy. Do something that doesn’t carry memories of when I used to do that or go there with Cooper.

Sounded like good advice. So, inspired by last Friday’s training day, I went and got an inexpensive, bright orange, kayak.

Sunday morning, before it got all hot, we all went to the Sauvie Island dog training area, hoping to find enough water to kayak in. It’s been very hot, and we didn’t get any of our usual June rains. So we weren’t surprised that the usual smaller training ponds were completely dry. But there is a larger lake inside the dog training area that we thought we’d try.

Too bad it didn’t occur to me to check out the name of that lake: Mud Lake.

Muddy and mucky it was. Even though I tried to pole they kayak out several yards to what I hoped were deeper waters, I never did get into waters where I could float, much less where the dogs could swim – in fact, they never got deeper than running through really muddy muck.

Then we tried another lake. It was a little deeper. I slogged several yards away from shore, pushing the kayak along, the muck almost sucking my sandals off my feet with every step. Finally, I hit some float-able water, but no matter how far away from shore I got, the dogs never did find anything deep enough to actually swim in. (Although they did get a mud pack beauty treatment.)

After just a few minutes, we packed up everything and left.

So disappointing.

And then Russ mentioned this spot he remembered where we might be able to find some deeper water. So we turned around and found a low bank where we could put into to the river. The river was definitely deeper. When we stayed in near shore, there was an eddy where I could paddle slowly and the dogs could swim. When we got out farther, the current was swift enough that it took some doing to not simply float away downstream.

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Trice in the kayak, Carlin and Tooey in the water

Trice and Tooey swimming in the river

Trice and Tooey

But even so, it was like heaven. Before last Friday, I hadn’t been on a boat for years, and that session was way too short. So on Sunday, floating on the water, watching my water-loving dogs play and swim, run around on the bank, and then jump back into the water — I loved every single second, and they did, too. They both slept soundly all the way home.

I hope we can do it again very soon.

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A lot of retriever dog trainers advise against working on water retrieves in the middle of winter. The water is too cold and it might put the dog off jumping into water when a water retrieve is needed.

Those trainers have never worked with Cooper.

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Cooper will (wants to, demands to even) retrieve anything, anywhere, any time. And that includes from the water in winter.

Now, admittedly, yesterday morning at the delta was not a worse case scenario. Although it was in the low 40 degrees F, it was bright and sunny enough that Cooper could run around after getting wet and dry off. And I did stop throwing the bumper after the 6th water retrieve when I noticed him shivering. He didn’t want to stop, but to make up for that, we did lots of finding bumpers on land that I “accidentally” dropped along our walk, and several marked retrieves as well.

It was a wonderful day, spent doing just about my favorite thing — walking with my Coopman outside.

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If one is in need of fun, and the day is sunny and warm, and you live near the west coast, and it’s a Monday off work, and you have a Favorite Photographer and a couple of Water-loving Spaniels who love to go along, where better to go play than the beach?

Just make sure you have a camera and toy to take along!

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It was hot and sunny today, perfect for washing the deck. Of course Cooper wanted to help. Take a look:

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