Not much of an update here. I love my new dslr and using Loki as my test subject!
Loki finally got a taste of off-leash freedom at an enclosed beach today. I was pretty nervous that he would ignore all my commands, but we didn’t have any problems getting him to ‘come’ on command! This is huge because in normal conditions, he responds ~70 percent of the time on leash. We had a great time watching him trot and chase other dogs around the sand. I also took the opportunity to practice shooting on my new Nikon D3100, so you can expect higher-quality pictures in my future blog posts!
For the first time since leaving his litter, Loki ran into another Shiba! Loki’s always been a bit of rough player with other dogs, and the response is fairly universal – tolerance at best, irritation, avoidance or even aggression at worst. As soon as Loki met his new friend, his style of play suddenly made sense. Instead of jumping on top of an irritated dog, they did a kind of doggy sumo wrestling, where they were both up on their hing legs, attempting to wrestle each other to the ground. The other Shiba, named Taiko, is 9 months, just a bit older than Loki, so they both seemed to have endless energy for play. The biggest challenge with letting them play was keeping their leashes untangled – they inevitably spun around in circles every minute or so, causing Taiko’s owner and I to have to frequently untangle their leashes. I exchanged contact info with the owner, so hopefully they will be able to meet up again soon at a dog park for some off-leash play.
A tired puppy is a happy puppy
Yesterday, we took Loki to the beautiful Briones Regional Park to explore new hiking terrain. If you haven’t already noticed, we are big on hiking on weekends to let Loki unleash some of his puppy energy. Considering how much we hike, I’ve actually considered creating a website that reviews all the hikes we’ve been on. Perhaps this could be the future of our blog – half doggy training, half hiking!
Our hike started around 1pm, which is a bit late if you are planning to go for long. We started with every intention on taking a well known trail, but decided last minute to head up longer trails since the sun was still up. That was our mistake.
Long Leash Training
Before I turn this blogpost into a recap of how utterly stupid and lost we got on this hike, I want to first talk about long leash training. I’ve been working on Loki’s recall for a while now, but he only responds 50% of the time to the ‘come’ command. When we go on long hikes, we don’t like keeping Loki on a short leash. For one, it doesn’t train him to prefer staying by our side. Two, it just gets annoying holding onto a leash for long periods of time. The solution to this problem? A 50-foot long leash for Loki to drag around. I bought the Guardian Cotton Web Training Pet Lead Leash and it has worked great so far. During this hike, there were only two times that we chased Loki back towards the right direction. The long leash makes a huge difference in how easy it is to catch him. Here is a video of him on his long leash.
Getting Lost in Briones Park
Loki pondering life
To continue from where I left off in my story, we got freaking lost on this hike. We decided to increase our hiking distance by using smaller, windier trails around 2:30-3:00pm. On the map, it looked fairly intuitive on how to get back. But on the trails, we came across increasingly steep trails, intersections with two paths, and fewer signs were available to direct hikers. Within two hours of hiking, I think we saw only two or three groups of hikers left. Wild cows and bulls that were 1/2 miles away were now 5-15ft within our trail. By the time it was 5pm, we had backtracked two trails and the sun was starting to set. Our hiking backpack contained 1 bottle of water, a pack of granola bars, two cell phones with 30% battery life, and no survival equipment. I was seriously contemplating the likelihood of us reenacting an episode of survivorman out there!
A beautiful and majestic sight
By 5:30pm, we walked past a ‘private property’ sign infront of a pavement road at one point, and decided to turn back towards this road when our trail was cut off by a fallen tree. When in doubt, always follow the pavement road! The road eventually led us to a house right along the park, where we thankfully found help from the locals who lived there. They were stunned at how far and lost we had come. It took 21 minutes and 20 miles of driving back to our original parking lot!
Needless to say, from now on, we will be carrying survival equipment whenever we go hiking in big parks like this. It might seem like an overkill, but I never want to go through that experience again!