Thursday, August 27, 2015

Water dog

The 8 year old yellow Labrador we got from a local Lab rescue organization is an incredibly mellow dog and when we weighed him at the vet he came in between 91 an 92 pounds and obviously he is very strong. So much so that I keep him on leash in my truck because he is a little much to manage when getting in or out of the truck still. I took him off leash in the forest to see how he would do and as long as I was throwing orange tennis balls uphill for him to chase and retrieve he was fine. However, when I got closer to my truck and the paved road on the fire trail dirt road we were on he didn't want to stop to put his leash back on so I was worried a little. But, finally by being really firm and demanding he "Sit" he sat down for me and I connected his long extendable leash so I had physical in addition to "Verbal" control of him.

In the water he is amazing. I've never owned a Yellow Labrador before. He's got webbed feet so he swims great like both yellow and black and I think brown Labradors have (there might be some other color I don't know about among Labradors. However, generally they are very good natured dogs that are relatively good with children (as long as they don't accidentally knock the kids down if they get excited). But, their motivation wouldn't be to knock the kids down. It's just that they are very strong like a sled dog or something like that. And if you have an excited family dog that weighs over 90 pounds bouncing around excited things are likely going to happen like kids under 80 or 90 pounds are going to go down if they aren't paying attention to where the dog is.

Today, we took him to the vet and he was okay. But, he is too much for my wife to handle on a leash because she had a knee replacement surgery about 1 year and a month ago. So, she is also upset that she can't handle him on leash. However, I'm 6 foot 5 inches tall and very strong so he isn't a problem for me and he immediately bonded with me like my last dog who passed away. Though he is very much a family dog just like our Border Collie and Long Hair German Shepard mix who passed away at 15 1/2 years old last December, he is also a dream for someone who is an outdoorsman like myself.

I watch him at the dinner table (because he is so tall) seriously thinking about eating my dinner before I do. But, luckily he was trained out of this likely years ago. So, this is a good thing. However, I don't think I would leave food on the table very long because I don't want him to learn bad habits. It's sort of like the same reason you don't leave your keys in your car because you don't want to encourage car thieves to steal your car. Only in this case you are protecting your friend, your dog, from learning bad habits.

When I took him to the beach for the first time I never saw any animal I have owned before just run in sort of like a porpoise into the water and begin to swim out to sea through the waves. Even though people had told me about this quality of Labradors before I hadn't had to be "In control" of one in this situation before. It was pretty amazing. So, I left him on a 30 foot extendable leash with a harness in the water so he wouldn't just swim out of sight or beyond his ability to survive at age 8. After all, he is not a puppy anymore, and I don't know his present abilities because I haven't seen his limits before.
And I don't want him to drown trying to find out whether he is smart enough to not drown himself or get between a wave and a rock that might knock him unconscious.

The next time I took him to a beach it was one with less large rocks that might harm him if he weren't careful. But, it seemed he learned some from his last experience and wasn't as crazy enthusiastic this time and so I didn't have to worry about him accidentally drowning himself the second time.

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