"Up Nort"

It has been over a week since my last post. This is not because nothing has been going on. To the contrary, too much has been going on! Graduations, birthdays, fishing trips, and more work than usual!

When I have had a free moment, instead of blogging, I have been putting my feet up, calling my dog over, popping open a beer and settling in for a cuddle and a movie. However, the time has come for me to play catch-up on Buzz's blog!

Last week, Buzz and I went to Grayling, Michigan with some folks from my graduate program. There was fly fishing, canoeing, hiking, and all kinds of fun to be had.

Buzz had a blast "up nort." He was fascinated by the river that was just behind the big camp.

And as he quickly discovered, the water was quite low, so he could run around in there without much fear of loosing his footing (Buzz doesn't like to swim. He only likes to wade.)

Retreiving sticks from the water quickly turned into high-flying fun for Buzz as he would leap off the edge of the dock, then jump clear out of the water several times in order to retrieve his stick. You'd have thought he had a pogo stick.

He never got tired of fetching that stick and I will never get tired of this picture.

It's the eyeballs that really send me over the edge. Egads!

Buzz also had a lot of fun flying nearby when I went hiking.

Buzz seemed to enjoy all of the people that went on the trip.

Especially the children who thought that playing with him was a real treat.

The boys took turns throwing the ball for Buzz. They would pass the Chuck-It between them for each throw so Buzz never knew who to bring the ball back to and started just bringing the ball to me even though I wasn't throwing at all. Silly.

Overall, I was surprised by Buzz's behavior on the trip. For the most part, he was better-behaved than I had anticipated. He had no problem staying by me when outside, he greeted people politely and stayed out of their space when asked. He didn't steal any food, chew on anything disallowed, or complain when I leashed him to me.

However, I was disappointed by Buzz's behavior on the last day. Basically, the oldest boy accidentally startled Buzz and Buzz responded by barking madly at him and advancing on him. Buzz did not respond to my verbal commands and I had to grab him to get him to stop. Later in the day, despite precautions, there was another problem and Buzz nipped the boy on the leg. Thankfully, no one was hurt or even scared for more than a moment.

In both instances, it was clear that Buzz had felt genuinely threatened by something that the oldest boy was doing, but in both cases the boy wasn't doing anything wrong. Why Buzz felt the need to act was clear, but Buzz shouldn't have acted, he should have alerted me and let me handle it. And while I know that Buzz was likely over-tired and over-stimulated, he needs to learn that he can never ever nip people. It worries me; when does a nip become a bite? And why does the happiest dog in the world have these moments of profound insecurity?

It seems that we have a training challenge ahead of us. Buzz must learn to stay calm and look to me for instruction in ALL situations. We are working on it. We are training for self-control. I am working on being a more absolute leader.

No comments: