Trekker here again. I love Halloween! Mom and I sat on the front step and all these kids came to see me. I licked them and talked to them and they pet me. Oh...it was great. Some of them even brought playmates for me. The very best was a Chesapeake Bay mix puppy that now lives right across the street from me. She's 11 weeks. We got to race through the yard. Her mom asked if I would be willing to play with her. I said YES, YES. I'll bug Mom to take me over every day. It's been a great night.
Trekker here—I want you to know that I’ve been working really hard to help Shiloh with the squirrels and the rabbits in the yard. I run and run and run…
Wait a minute, let me tell you the whole story!!! Shiloh here. Since I was a pup it has been my job to keep the squirrels and the rabbits from the yard. I take that job very seriously. As soon as Mom lets me out I run the fence line and through the bushes to make sure all are clear. If not, I give serious chase. I either chase those squirrels and rabbits out of the yard or tree them. If I stand back under the roof’s cover and keep watch I can see if they come back and I know that those varmints can’t see me. When they choose not to take my initial warnings I’m ready to hunt them down again. It may take hours, but it makes no difference. THIS IS MY JOB! Do you know what they’d do to Mom’s gardens if it weren’t for me?
Now I have this little fur ball, Mom calls Trekker, either chasing after me trying to nip my ankles or jumping up in my face as I’m in hot pursuit. How can any respectable dog get a job done with all that jumping and annoyance? He needs to learn. I’ve tried to teach him but he’s useless.
I’ve got to talk quietly so Shiloh can’t hear me because I don’t want to hurt his feelings. He’s my best bud, you know. Shiloh’s just not being fair, I do help. What he’s not telling you that he’s slowing down and sometimes misses the rabbits and squirrels. Just last night I found three hiding rabbits that he’d overlooked. I chased those rabbits right into the neighbor’s yard. He also doesn’t tell you he’s slower than he used to be. Me, I’m quick and fast. Just last night I almost caught one of those rabbits. I was right next to it. Wow…that was so great! Shiloh told me I should have brought that rabbit down and taught it a lesson for being in our yard. That’s not for me, it’s too much fun just running at top speed. But just between you and me, I do help!
Trekker is the first dog I feel I really know where I want to take him or more importantly how to get him there. With our past dogs I went through basic obedience classes but ended there. Then with Shiloh, just a year ago, we learned of the canine good citizen certification and how to become a certified therapy dog. We did both, but our therapy work was short lived. Being an old dog, who often thinks he’s young, he injured his second hind knee running the fence line with the neighbor’s dog. The vet and I decided he was better retired from therapy.
Then comes my bundle of energy, Trekker. My goals are clear: canine good citizen certification; licensed therapy dog; and explore agility with the thought of possibly competing. Trek has great potential but we have to temper his energy with more maturity and focus and more steady work on my part. (Thank you Kristine and Kim for the training suggestions on how to work with two dogs. Trekker was much more focused after being kenneled watching me work with Shiloh and Shiloh just loves to work.)
The place we’ve begun to take classes also offer indoor agility training. I signed up for the beginning agility class in January. It’s not a problem that Trekker is not fully mature because it is nonjump to begin with. Then as he gains agility knowledge, and has his TDI license we can combine the two. They have a volunteer opportunity where disabled kids, as part of their therapy, work with you and your dog in agility but your dog must be TDI licensed. This sounds perfect for an educator who no longer has students. So what does all this mean? Trekker and I have got to get our act together and duo train so they all come together by summer. Good thing I have a smart, determined dog.
Yesterday was Trekker’s manners/obedience class and only he could find his exact opposite to be his new best friend. The two dogs are the same age, 8 months, but that’s where the similarities end. Booker is a Bloodhound—Coonhound mix. His front paw is the size of Trekker’s skull and I’m sure he weighs at least 100 pounds. Either Booker is abnormally large or these breeds are much bigger than I ever realized. He makes my neighbor’s great dane look petite.
As soon as we got to class Trekker makes a bee line to Booker. Booker must be one gentle soul, because he drops to the ground so that Trekker can’t be hurt. Trekker then slides right in between Booker’s massive front paws. There they mouthed and tossled together. Not once did Trekker squall that the play was to rough. When the instructor was transitioning between activities the two were together. The only draw back was the drool. Booker’s owner carries a slobber rag with him this time he didn’t need it instead Trekker was covered.
Being a reading teacher and a dog lover I am always on the look out for a dog book. I picked one up today at Target and am almost done. It's about a Marine officer deployed in Baghdad who finds a puppy in an abandoned building and befriends him. Going against military rules Kopelman adopts Lava and tries to get him back to the safety of the United States. It's called, From Baghdad, With Love: A Marine, the War, and a Dog Named Lava by Jay Kopelman. It's a good, quick read.
Tommow is our dog training class and I'm feeling a little panicky. I don't feel that we are ready. I could blame the lack of readiness on going to Colorado, but the truth is I haven't got down how to have two dogs and train. I feel so guilty locking Shiloh away while Trekker and I train. I've tried doing the training with both dogs and that doesn't seem to work. What saves me from humiliation each week is Trekker is smart and catches on fast. He makes me look like I've been really working instead of doing the bumbling job I do. As the training becomes more challenging this is going to be a real problem. We still need to get to our CGC, therapy dog test and I'd like to start agility with him. So I am really open to suggestions. How do you do it?
Until Trekker I have always been a big dog person. I’ve felt safe. Not that there is a lot in my life to be afraid of, but our dogs over the years seem to take my personal safety seriously. They would have let all my belongings walk out of the house and probably of kept a burglar company, but never would they let me be harmed.I didn’t have that high of expectations of feeling secure with a “smaller dog” and a puppy no less. This morning Trekker surprised me. I was out on the deck waiting in the dark for the dogs to do their early morning business when we heard a shuffling noise out on the sidewalk. The dogs ran to the fence line to sound the warning and the shuffling continued. Trekker came rounding the house corner and ran up the deck stairs to where I was standing. He placed himself between me and the stairs and began to scan the yard. I could hear a low growl coming from him. Now I know what he heard was someone walking on the sidewalk through all the neighbor’s fallen leaves, but Trekker didn’t. I found that he may be small, but he is mighty.
Letting go and going with the flow has never been one of my strengths. Trekker’s arrival in May has forced me to take a more laid back attitude and this does not come easy. The day Trekker arrived he high tailed it to one of the hosta beds and started to roll. After he wiped out several plants I had to decide — Do I try and chase him out each time he approaches the gardens or try and grin and bear it? The decision was puppy was more important than garden.
From the start Trekker has tried to entice Shiloh to play by nipping at him and running. There was no competition or challenge for Shiloh, he could bring Trekker down in a matter of two or three steps. But Trekker being the problem solving corgi he was breed to be saw that the gardens could be a great resource to him. If he dodged and weaved through the plants he could dart out and attack Shiloh then head for cover again. The roses have proven to be Trekker’s ally. He can go through the growth unscathed and Shiloh can’t. So even though Shiloh has at least 15 inches and 45 pounds on him, Trekker can often get the upper racing hand. But being a smart and patient old dog, Shiloh, waits standing perfectly still. Trekker’s pace begins to slow or the route through the garden stays consistent and bam Shiloh brings him down. This makes Trekker joyous because big brother chose to play and around and around he goes again.
As the season winds down, I gaze at my destroyed garden and wonder if this perennial garden will thrive again next spring. I know that it helped Trekker thrive this summer.
Today’s challenge will be destroyed garden and mudd. No matter what we’re getting outside.
As usual, we roll out of bed and head outdoors for our first bathroom break. It’s raining right down. So? You say. Rain at our house is a big deal because Trekker has refused to do his business if it’s raining. Unlike most corgis he hates to get wet. I keep an umbrella in the storage room for just an occasion. On raining days, you will find me in the middle of the yard holding the umbrella over Trekker so that he will go. Saying over and over again, “Hurry Trekker, go potty!”. I’m sure my neighbors think I’m nuts.
Not so today. Trekker walks out the basement door, sniffs the rain in the air and heads directly for backyard. There he stands with his head lifted upward allowing the rain to pour down on him. He just radiated contentment. I have no idea what happened to the boy who hates rain.
Rain also brings a possessed Trekker in the house. He is a bundle of frenzied energy that runs continuous corgi laps, goes from toy to toy, and looks for every opportunity to harass Shiloh. All of us are ready for the rain to stop and to get back to our regular routine of Trekker getting a short walk every morning and long walk every evening. What ever are we going to do when the snow comes? Guess what you’ll be doing over break, Luke?
PS Luke-- Gas is down to 2.29 a gallon today. The Mustang did get some use today as part of a corgi obstacle course.
I am not letting that pup get the upper hand. I need to speak out on the indignities thrust upon me. Let me start with the most serious of indignities …walking with Trekker. Mom says because of my age and knees I can only have one walk a day and she insists on taking Trekker too. She says he has too much energy otherwise. She takes us in the morning. Here I am in the morning walking along, smelling all there is to smell and I feel a tug on my leash. I turn to see what the problem is and see small fry doing the tugging. At first I try and be tolerant, but he doesn’t stop. Next I turn and snarl. Sometimes that does the trick. Not this morning. He just wouldn’t leave my leash alone! It had to be done…I brought him down and pinned him. I made him wiggle a little and let him up. It is my leash!
Next I’m often lying there in the family room and minding my own business, doing a little napping or chewing on my favorite toy. What does that d…pup do? He jumps up on the sofa footstool. Sometimes he settles in for a little nap but when he gets bored he likes to take a flying leap on top of me! He thinks we’re playing. No way! I don’t play like that and I will teach him not to either.
Mom needs to teach Trekker a little respect or I will. There is only one top dog and it is me.
Trekker demonstrated his excitement of being home with corgi lap after lap through the house. Under, over and through he went not needing a playmate or minding the furniture displacement he created from his enthusiastic jaunts as he rounded the rooms. The joy of running was obvious, he was HOME. As he wound down I settled into the sunroom for a little mindless TV. This is usually Trekker’s signal to lie up on the chair with me or to settle in on the nearby dog pillow with a chew toy. Not so last night.
Trekker gathered his first chew toy from the family room and settled onto the dog pillow but only for a second or two. Then he was off again to retrieve another toy, and then another, and then another. His pile was growing until the only toy or chew that he had not gathered was the one Shiloh was chewing on. Trekker sashayed over to Shiloh and reached in. Shiloh’s lip curled and low warning stopped Trekker from his intended nab, but he was not to be deterred. Trek settled in a few safe inches from Shiloh and intently gazed at the coveted chew bone. Every so often a frustrated whine would be emitted from Trekker trying to signal Shiloh to hurry up. And as all big brothers who have the upper hand do, they taunt the younger ones and take their time. Finally, Shiloh had enough and moved on for a nap on the sofa footstool. Trekker grabbed the coveted chew and added it to his pile. He made a final lap through the house making sure that nothing had been left behind; when he was completely satisfied he laid with a contented sigh. Can a dog be materialistic? Yes!
My baby is no longer a teenager! This monumental birthday warranted a flying trip to Denver. I know that Luke was thrilled to see us come, but almost as thrilled when our train rolled out returning us to Iowa and he could return to his busy college life. The long, uncomfortable ride home gave me time to reflect on the differences between human son and canine sons. Luke is every mother’s dream, but also thrives on challenges and his independence. I am so proud to have raised such a proud man, but saddened that I am no longer needed in the way I once was. The dogs, on the other hand, always morn my absences and will follow me to the end of the earth. They have no greater mission in life than being my companions. Shiloh knew the minute he turned into the boarding kennel that life was not good. He thought by turning around he might be able to sneak home and be saved this horrible kenneling fate. Not so with Trekker, he thought this was yet another adventure and went prancing in. It was only when Rich walked away, leaving him behind that he knew he’d been duped. Yet unlike human children dogs forgive immediately and love so unconditionally. The joy on their faces, when seeing us again, warms me through and through. Not another sole on earth misses me more and celebrates my return with such glee. This is why I have dogs; I get so much more than I give!
This for you Luke-- I was unprepared for being an empty nester. Luke had gone to college and Shiloh, my lab mix best friend, was wanting to rest more and play less. So after much thought and investigation I brought home Trekker, a ten week Cardigan Corgi. Trekker has brought a joy and an excitement to our house that was missing. Now I am a proud mother of three boys; Luke, Shiloh and Trekker.