Monday, June 10, 2013

Dog of Water and Rocks

Zonked out in his dug-out dirt bed
I could tell about another perfect climbing weekend with great people complete with three great rope climbs at Kaymoor and a day of deep water soloing at the lake with all the pertinent climbing details
about the routes, but instead I'm going to tell about how incredible my dog was throughout all of this.

I had obligations at home Friday so Kenai and I made an early departure Saturday morning to meet folks for a day of climbing at Kaymoor. The weather wasn't ideal, so we met at the house and got a little bit of a late start, but it was all good. We arrived at the parking lot above Butchers Branch to find only a few cars. VERY odd for a Saturday at the NRG. It ended up being our group and one other group for the day. SO awesome.

The other group had three dogs. Kenai was a very good citizen around them, even though one of their dogs was really jealous anytime Kenai was close to the other dog's "girls". For all climbing trips, Kenai wears his remote trainer/shock collar. Its rare that I have to shock him as he sticks around  very close to where I am, usually dozing on a rock or dirt bed or exploring the bushes.

A short crisp whistle stops him in his tracks to turn and make eye contact with me; a whistle followed by his name has him pay even more mind; a whistle, name call, and arm gesture brings him to my side to check-in. I can call "No" at him to stop things, "C'mere" to have him stop and come to me, "Go" to have him move away from wherever he is (if he's standing on a rope for instance). He is respectful of people and children and other dogs, though he is a shameless beggar who will sit feet away from those who are eating and giving them his best sad husky puppy face (to which nearly everyone except me gives in to whether I've banned this action or not).

I had more compliments about his behavior than ever before this weekend. I'm not particularly certain why, but was proud of my pup for being so awesome. His worst trait about being a crag dog is that he occasionally likes to curl up and sleep atop ropes. No, no, no. Ropes need to be respected as they're helping protect our lives and this means no humans or canines standing or lying upon them. Usually a sharp "NO" and "GO" will redirect Kenai.

He runs ahead during our hikes, stopping around corners to wait to see me come around them ebfore going too much further, or pausing at my whistle. When I'm climbing or when he's grown tired, he finds an out-of-the-way place (usually keeping me in sight) to nap. If its sunny, he'll find a shady napping point, usually locating himself as close to me as he is able. He'll just doze in his spot and watch activity around him.

Saturday at the crag he had the "safety net" of his remote collar on, but Sunday at the lake he didn't. He was just wearing his life jacket. I towed him out into the water and had him swim several hundred yards (a break in the middle and a noodle under his waist on the way back for more assistance as the water was choppy from wind and boats). He was tuckered out after that and spent the rest of the day dozing uphill in the shade. There were easily two dozen people crammed in the tiny area near the cliff access at Whippoorwill. Despite the whirlwind of activity Kenai dozed most of the day post-swim, or silently observed all that was going on. We made certain that at least one person was on shore with
him at all times so he didn't fret too much (apparently he really cried the first time we all swam away and around the corner), but other than that, he was left to his own devices for the day.

Did my husky, with no containment or remote collar "safety net" run away? No. Not at all. In fact, I have more and more people comment to me how he is the ONLY husky they have EVER seen that behaves this well, sticking around and respecting my every word (most of the time). When he begged from people when I was in sight of it I'd give him a terse command and he'd cease the behavior and move onto another activity, sleeping primarily.

He was gentle with the small child who was there for part of the day, respected the space of climbers and their belongings, and came to check in with me at the waters edge when I gave a whistle. SUCH a good boy. I'm seriously going to be so hard-pressed to ever find/create a dog as wonderful as him. He's creating some seriously large paws to fill one day. He's seriously [one of] the best dog[s] ever.

No comments:

Post a Comment