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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cabin Strategies to Achieve "A Tired Puppy is a Good Puppy."

We unload the van and drop the boat trailer in the cabin drive.  First things first--we need to tire out the puppy.

"Let's take the dogs over to Thompson's Landing on the Au Sable," Andy suggests.

Perfect.  It's only a few miles away, the 87 steps down to the river will be excellent practice for FLD Gus, it's warm enough for Gypsy to go swimming after a stick (her favorite thing), and it might be fun to see what Gus does when Gypsy goes bounding into the water.

Gypsy and Gus are raring to go after spending the morning in the van.  I'm surprised that Gus tackles the 87 wooden steps without missing a beat.  He is focused on the spattering of red and yellow leaves that litter the stairs; it doesn't take much encouragement from me to get him to plop his chubby legs from step to step.

"Bark!"  Gypsy is already at the river bank demanding a thrown stick.  I clip my 15 foot lead onto Gus's collar and unclip his short leash.  "I'm coming," Andy says.  I look back up the staircase and see that he is trudging down with two large sticks.  "I've got a backup stick this time."  Gypsy is notorious for destroying sticks in her enthsiasm.

Andy throws one of the sticks into the middle of the wide Au Sable.  Gypsy boing-boing-boings into the water until she can't touch the bottom without going under; then kicks into her wake-producing retrieve swim, her tail wagging above the surface like a flag.

FLD Gus back on shore.
FLD Gus bounces after her.  Suddenly he senses something different underfoot.  He bounces back to dry land in wonder.  "What was that?!"  Before he can figure out what happened, Gypsy is back to shore for another throw.  Gus chases, but Gypsy can't be bothered.  Swimming for sticks is important business!

"Bark!"  Andy throws.  Gypsy boings.  Gus bounces to the river's edge and stops, content to watch from dry land.


FLD Gus, watching Gypsy from the safety of shore.

After several throws, Gypsy doesn't drop the stick at Andy's feet--she hangs in the shallows, biting frantically at the stick, a sure sign she is tiring.  An nine years old she finally knows when to quit.

"Let's hike down the trail a bit so she can dry off," Andy says.  Back up the 87 steps!  Andy and Gypsy take off ahead.  I gather up the long lead and ask Gus to SIT at the bottom.  Gus sits on command at home, but here there are too many distractions.  I help him.  Then  I lift him onto the first step because it is too high; I wonder how he'll manage the rest of the open steps.  No problem!  Gus eagerly hops up step to step, his baby legs not long enough to take them any other way.

Take it easy, Gus, we've got a long way to go!  I laugh.  With about 20 steps to go, Gus slows, but makes it the rest of the way on his own.

Gypsy, drying in the field.


When we hit the trail, I let Gus run the length of the long lead.  He tries to keep up with Gypsy, but soon he's waddling in a nice heel at my left side.



FLD Gus, in the field, trying to find Gypsy.

Mission accomplished--a tired puppy!

2 comments:

  1. That second picture is SO stinkin' CUTE!

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  2. I never tire of watching his antics!

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