Hiking with young dogs

We’re settling into our temporary routine as a three-dog household. I’ve discovered that if I take all three dogs out first thing in the morning off-leash, Kora and Kyndall race out wildly to our lower yard, but then they can be verbally bullied into leaving each other alone while they attend to their first toileting duties of the day. They seem to notice when the other is engaged in relieving herself and to conscientiously refrain from tackling her at that instant. I think that’s cool — in part because it means Steve and I both don’t have to get out of bed super-early in order to accompany them.

We also have had some fun with them. Although we walk the dogs in the neighborhood, we hike with them all too rarely. Tuesday morning was an exception. We seized an opportunity to go for an 8-mile hike in Los Penasquitos Canyon, one of San Diego’s loveliest preserves. Eleven-year-old Tucker is no longer up to lengthy outings, but we took Kora and Kyndall, and both were little angels. Dogs are allowed in the canyon, so they didn’t have to wear their capes, but the rules dictate they be on leash at all times. That was fine with us. This is rattlesnake season, and although we didn’t see any serpents, we heard from a cyclist who saw several. Both girls walked nicely at our sides.

One of the special features of Penasquitos Canyon is the small waterfall about halfway through it, which is at its best when the rainy season is ending (i.e. right now.)

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Don’t they look like they’re having fun?

We found it looking lovely, but neither Kora nor Kyndall are swimmers, and they seemed a bit alarmed by it.

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This place is weird. Could be dangerous!

Both finally waded into tentatively, at our urging.

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and then Kyndall grossed us out by flinging herself down and trying to rub off her halter. This is an everyday behavior at our home but a messy move in a creekbed.

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The rest of the hike took us through some lovely shady areas (which sun-averse Kyndall in particular appreciated) and gave us the opportunity to cross a rather wobbly footbridge.

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Come on, girlfriend! You can make it!

We were home again less than four hours after we set out. A minor but satisfying adventure for humans and beasts.

Let the good times roll

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The white stuff scattered all over those stairs is dog hair. Although Steve just vacuumed this room (his office) yesterday, since then it has accumulated a truly shocking quantity of blonde fur.

In less than eleven days, we’ll hand over Kyndall’s leash and she’ll be led off to the kennels at CCI’s Southwestern regional headquarters, to begin her Advanced Training regime. We’re feeling sad at the thought of her vanishing forever from our lives, but we believe for her it will signal the start of a much more sociable phase of her life — living and training with dozens of other young comrades, including a kennel mate with whom she’ll spend all her non-training hours. And through a twist of fate, the party has begun early for her.

I’ve written several times about her great friendship with Kora, the other CCI puppy who lives only a few blocks from us. Kora’s puppy-raiser, Lisa, recently asked us if we might take care of Kora while Lisa is in Italy and Spain for a combined business and pleasure trip.  We said yes, in part because we like being able to help out other members of the CCI family. But we also figure it will take a bit of the sting out of Kyndall’s departure if we have another puppy in the house. (Kora is six months younger than Kyndall, so she won’t begin her Advance Training until November 5.)

Kora has visited us before many times and even slept overnight once or twice, but never has she lodged with us for anything near this length of time — 19 nights/20 days. After less than 24 hours, we’re sort of stunned by the amount of hair that can be generated by three large dogs (the third, Tucker, particularly seems to be shedding copious amounts at the moment.)


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The girls also play so energetically that they mess up the rug in my office.

It’s also no small challenge to muscle the girls out to the backyard first thing in the morning. Although Kyndall and Tucker normally sleep up in our bedroom, we think the three of them simply take up too much space, so we’re having them all sleep in Steve’s office.050216 K&K3This morning, Kyndall and Kora were so overjoyed to find themselves in each other’s presence at dawn’s early light that all they wanted to do was race around and wrestle, rather than obediently poop and pee. To handle them, Steve and I both dragged ourselves out of bed and trooped downstairs so that each of us could take one of the girls on a leash. That will likely have to be our routine for the next 18 mornings.

Still, we like Kora, and we can see how much fun Kyndall is having with her here. If it also means a bit more disorder and squalor, we’ll have to deal with it (or vacuum a lot more often.)