Friday, June 12, 2009

June 12th

Still cloudy, but really neat to watch the steam rise up from the mountain forest. It looks like the trees are breathing. There's more rain in the forecast. I really need to finish my stone path before the whole back yard becomes a mud pit.
Samantha and Freya are starting to have some sort of rivalry going, sort of the way Samantha acts with G'kar, ruffs up and growls when they come face to face. A quick reprimand stops the demonstration, but it is worrisome. Samantha wants to be in charge of everything, including me, and the boys and Valkrys let her. Freya, on the other hand, won't put up with it any more, and G'kar has been king for far too long to let some young upstart rule his house. I'm hoping it will remain as just small demonstrations of dominance and never come to really bloody fights. I curtail the growling and posturing when I'm around, but not sure how much the dogs will listen to James or Jim if they really feel cranky. I'm hoping I won't have to separate out Samantha, but it is a distinct possibility. All the other dogs get along very well now. She seems to be the only one still making waves. I try to give her lots of attention, knowing that she was cooped up away from people for so long breaks my heart and makes me think this is a lot of the reason why she is acting up. She wants all my love and attention to herself. She's hoarding me, so to speak. She's fine with the other dogs when I am petting her, but growls at them when I'm not. I hope this phase won't last long, and when she realizes we are not going to leave her, that she will settle down and enjoy life again. Right now, she doesn't play with the other dogs, though she will occasionally gnaw on the nylabones.
Even G'kar plays with the young dogs now, but Samantha gets annoyed if they play near her. We do have to separate Samantha from the other dogs when they are playful, and it is kind of sad, but she doesn't mind if she gets to spend time with the people. I just wish she would play nicely with the others.
She is a very hard worker though, and my strongest puller. She is our current lead dog who is training Yukon. They make a great leader team, and they get along very well. Demon and Freya run together very well and seem very happy to be running side by side, so it is very likely that they will stay a mid or wheel team, although I'd like to train Freya up to be able to take lead every once in a while. She has the stuff and makings of a real leader and has a LOT of heart! I am very pleased with the high quality of dogs we have so far!
Weather was great for a training run, so I burned some comp time and headed home. Grabbed a bite to eat and hooked up the team. The dogs and my son were rearing to go, so I told him to let them go, and keep going, no turning at the bridge, we would go up and around down the side street as far as it goes. The dogs were ecstatic to be allowed to run, but my son was unprepared for their speed. He made it almost to the bridge before he nearly crashed the cart, thank goodness we use flexible nylon rope, but the ends were not up to the challenge, and two of the metal ends came undone.... sigh...
The dogs were good and stopped immediately, but as soon as Yukon and Freya figured out they were free, off they flew!... Good thing we live way out in the country... Handing the disconnected leads for Samantha and Demon to James, I ran after our wayward explorers. The land they decided to explore is mostly vacant. There is about a hundred acres of woodlands with a couple of deer-clover coveys planted by the owner who only comes there to tend his feeders and hunt during hunting season. It is full of wildlife and especially the deer Yukon has been hankering to chase, so off he chased. Freya, bless her little heart, followed her lead dog. So I followed them, albeit much more slowly.
I tracked them up the side of the mountain, and was able to call Freya to me. She was a very good puppy and came when I called. I petted and praised her, and led her back to where James was coming back down the road. Handing her to him, I hiked back up the mountain calling out for Yukon. I tracked him to the top of a rocky clearing, and lost his trail, but there were only two ways to go once he hit the river on the other side of the ridge. Calling for him, and figuring he would head towards what was more familiar than less so, I turned right and followed the ridgeline so I could see down both sides. It was beautiful countryside, thick forest rich in the scent of decaying leaves, strewn by moss covered rocks.
As I suspected, Yukon had turned right as well, and ran all the way back to the hunter's cabin, then up the dirt road. Hearing me calling, he ran up the mountainside to me off from the dirt road. What a good boy! Again I praised and petted him for coming to me, then led him down to the road and trotted with him back to the house.
The rest of the day I spent re-engineering the rope connections to the swivel snaps. Looping the rope ends around the snap end, I then wrapped sinew around them to keep the end tight, then wrapped them in leather strips and sewed it all together. If that comes undone, I'll buy something different to work with...

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