It’s not secret I hate this time of year. Every horrible, rotten, crappy, down right awful thing that has ever happened in my life has always happened this time of year. So, yesterday, while everyone else was off having family dinners and putting up Christmas trees baby trail dog and I went out and ran, more like hiked, 10 miles. Yes, classic avoidance. Hey don’t knock it until you try it.
I’ve been working with this awesome trainer, “Uncle Lance” who has been amazing. At our first session he asked me what I wanted out of our training sessions and I told him that I wanted to know that when we were out on the trail together that she would stay with me and not take off. See, she’s an Afghan mutt and she’s a sight hound. What does that mean? Means she’s a survivor and why wouldn’t she follow/chase an amazing meal, even though there’s a heated car seat and a seemingly endless supply of doggie treats with me. Last weekend we worked with Uncle Lance at a local park with her off leash. We were ready, Uncle Lance said so, and he isn’t the kind of guy to blow smoke up your a$$.
Yesterday, we started our run with her on leash. She’s really grown to love the run. Especially the longer runs when it’s just her and I. Her ears are her tell. Flipped over, sassy. Bouncy, happy. Pinned to her head, she’s picked up the scent of something. As we proceeded down the trail we got to a really technical rocky section of trail that I knew I was going to have to let her scramble on her own. For her safety and mine. As I reached down to unclip her harness from the leash I had to have faith that all of the training we’ve done was going to be enough.
She was amazing! She scrambled and played. She was far enough ahead for her to be able to explore some on her own, yet close enough that I was comforted. She stuck her face into every dirt pile and mud puddle she could find. She bounced and played and was happy, genuinely happy. She came when called and didn’t put a single toe out of line. I was so impressed. When we got back to the regular trail she was so good I didn’t want to put her back on leash. She stayed at my side almost in a perfect heel next to my knee as we moved down the trail. Had a couple of volunteer Rangers not busted us, I would have kept her that way all the way back to the car. She ignored the other dogs, people, and yes, even the ducks she saw on the trail. While she’s still not 100% locked on me like HRH is, for her first off leash outing I couldn’t be any more pleased. I’m really looking forward to our upcoming time in the mountains. She’s definitely going to be my little trail monster.