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Equal Opportunity Fishing Dock

IMG_0126It was a rainy day out and about today. I have been traveling to North Dakota and returned to the rain that we left two days ago. It was nice to be out with the dogs again and we spotted this odd site at Lake Harriet. This is the fishing dock just west of the Bandshell. The eagle seemed soaked and hungry. There was a small pocket of 5-6 ducks tucked into the right side of the fishing dock. The eagle would jump up and fly over the group while they scattered then return to its perch. Amazing the things one sees in the middle of the city…

The fountain seemed redundant – One week later

IMG_1820The picture from last week made it appear like a lush rainforest.  Well, things change.  As of October 12th we already have the 7th snowiest October on record.  Here is a photo from Monday with our new guest – Snow.  I don’t know that I have seen many fountains operating in the snow but the fountain in the Rose Gardens was still in operation.  Big Rocco, the Newfoundland, loved sprawling out and getting reacquainted.

The fountain seemed redundant

The National Weather Service gave an official measurement of 1.6 inches of rain on Tuesday. There are times when the rain will come in waves and a walk can be squeezed into a dry time. No such luck on Tuesday. It rained all day, steady, very needed and appreciated.

IMG_1810For those that are not familiar with the Minneapolis Parks System this is the fountain at the Rose Gardens.  There was something really amazing about the light and colors with the rain.  The photo really does not do justice to the great colors and panoramic gardens.  Once again kudos to the founders of the parks.  These are a precious resource for the city and all area residents.

A lost dog returns home

Fall has definitely arrived. We had temps in the 50’s with high winds and leaves blowing everywhere. The wind can have an unsettling effect on all the critters out and about and today the wind worked its magic.

There were 13 dogs in the morning crew and we were walking around Lake Harriet when a woman jumped out of her car and asked “are you Curtis?”. She then told me that one of my afternoon clients dogs had run away and they were looking everywhere. I quickly recalculated my route and took the crew up the parkway to join the search.
Before long we ran into another searcher who indicated that the dog had been seen several blocks north. We walked alleys and side streets until I took notice of the wind. We were directly down wind of the dogs home and I thought we may try to see if the dog had made a dash home while everyone was out and about. I ran into the owner and the person who was caring for her when she bolted about two blocks from home and we compared notes. I was in the process of outlining my theory about the dog running home when suddenly she came bolting down the street to everyones amazement.
Tears of joy were shed and we took a moment to give thanks for her safe return. I was happy to be a part of reunion.

Twin Cities Live link

Here is a link to a piece that ran on our local station.  One never knows how the story will wind up but Tim did a really nice job and they did some good editing:http://twincitieslive.com/article/stories/S1163030.shtml?cat=11215

Stung in the tail – Ouch

Zorah, the big male boxer, has all of the great boxer behavior and energy and has a great time with the group. On occasion he may “box” with a dog on greeting but generally he is really nice and balanced. Two blocks from our rest stop today, when most dogs were starting to wind down, he moved anxiously to my side and dropped his hips and was swinging his head back and forth. I had all of the dogs sit and we walked ahead to see what was causing this odd behavior. I requested a sit/down and he was not excited but complied and as soon as he was down I saw the wasp hanging from his tail. Ouch! I quickly removed it to his pleasure we got to the rest stop without further incidents. 13 dogs on the morning walk and 7 in afternoon.
IMG_1542Here is Zorah with his buddy Boris on a much better day.

We also had the privilege of seeing a Pileated Woodpecker by Lake Harriet.  A really cool sight in the city!

14 Dogs with Tim Sherno

IMG_1754After a brief chat on Tuesday, Tim Sherno, a reporter with KSTP, a local TV station, filmed an interview at Lake Harriet earlier today. He is a really nice guy and the piece was for Twin Cities Live. He thought it would air next Wednesday.

It was a warm day and the dogs were great. We filmed the dogs walking and had an interview in the shade near the Bandshell. While they were filming a group of about 60 grade school kids from Burroughs rode by and provided the greatest reactions possible. The dogs took it all in stride. Here hoping that they have some good editors that can make me appear semi-articulate.

Here is the crew on Thursday at Clancey’s meats & fish in Linden Hills.   The home of grass fed beef and the greatest roast beef sandwich in the 612.

Great Viewing

On Monday we got an opportunity to witness a great sight.  While walking along a city street, a young peregrine falcon flew down and grabbed a mouse or shrew about 25 yards ahead of us.  I am continually amazed at the great recovery progress they are making here in the city. How did  I know it was a young bird; no mature bird would get that close to 10 dogs!

There was a nice story on our local CBS affiliate that featured the dogs last week: http://wcco.com/pets/citizen.kanine.dog.2.800482.html.  We spent a couple of hours walking and talking with Frank Vascellaro on Tuesday for the Thursday spot.  One never knows how and interview will turn out but I was really happy the story.  Frank is as nice as he appears on TV.  He recently lost a dog similar to Caddy, the Australian Shepard, and they hit it off immediately.

Aussie Mania

What a great looking group of dogs. This is our afternoon walking group from Monday. I have always been impressed by the intelligence and athleticism of Australian Shepards. In the dog training world smart dogs can also be very prone to problems when they are not properly directed or put to task. Aussies are working dogs and they love to be put to work. The Labrador in the center of the photo is feeling a bit outnumbered.

The photo above was taken on River Road in Minneapolis. One of the dogs in the group is named Felon and we had a great opportunity for a apropo photo that we passed on. The park police (a separate police force from the Minneapolis police department) had set up a squad monitoring a local stop sign and pulled over a motorist right in front of us. It would have been a fabulous photo but I didn’t want to risk getting cited for an off leash violation.

The thinking dog

img_0142.jpgI love this sequence of photos. One of the topics that we discussed last weekend as an important component of training was allowing a dog to develop responsibility for their own actions. One of the simple but effective methods taught was called “the long down”. Effectively it is a very simple exercise where the dog is given a sit command and enough slack in their lead to settle into a spot while the owner is sitting on the leash and not interacting with the dog. The exercise should allow the dog 30 minutes in a calm state of mind before concluding.

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We have a new group member, Boris. He is a great 9 month old yellow lab with tons of energy. During our walk today, after 3+ miles, he had a great opportunity to learn “the long down”. This is a modified version where the group is providing non verbal cues about expected behavior. In the first shot we can see how he is looking for any kind of distraction to take him off task. He then resigns himself to the down position. Then in the concluding photo he finally achieves the state of mind we are looking for. His facial expression and body language are fantastic as he achieves a calm state of mind.

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