It ends as all Charlee's woodland adventures do -
wet, smelly and dirty!
Champ and Milo
My dogs have no concept of why they haven't been getting regular runs lately. They have no way to know that I have been overbooked, overworked, and overwhelmed for the last few weeks. When I told them over and over through out the week that on Wednesday (today) I would take them running at Hinkley Park, they just cocked their heads and wagged their tails, searching for the phrase words "wanna go out?" among my human garble. Hinkley was not far from my morning appointment with Milo and Champ and I cleared my schedule to make time to run my dogs today. Today's walk in the woods was as much for them as it was for me.
Finn has been my "right paw dog" and he has been instrumental in helping these two rescue litter mates get over their leash reactivity. We trainer types prefer not to call dogs aggressive and much prefer the term reactive. To date Finn has helped nearly 50 reactive dogs in private sessions with his excellent dog skills and his good guy mellow demeanor. It is getting to the point that he gets more private bookings than I do. I am thinking about writing a book about Finney's "bait dog magic" in hopes of helping other people and their problem dogs. I have started a "Friends of Finney" journal and Milo and Champ will surely get their own chapter. After 3 initial training sessions, Champ and Milo signed on for three more and today being the 5th session they were even ok with Charlee walking in close proximity.
Good dogs Milo and Champ!!
After both my dogs got done assisting me this morning we made a B-line over to Hinkley Park.
I will let the pictures speak for themselves. All I can say is that the lingering wet dog smell in my car was so worth it. And I vow to my dogs not make them wait weeks for the next great dog run.
Finn catches early morning rays On Peaks Island
Just a few miles by boat from down town Portland, Peaks Island is a treasure and very dog friendly!
I am forever grateful to friend and fellow dog trainer Jenny Yasi for
setting up our Training and Freestyle demo, and inviting, me, my three kids and both dogs to stay in her wonderful home and training facility for the weekend. We all had a fantastic time and I got a much needed mini vacation.
This was our second training collaboration, and Yasi and I will be getting together for lots more events in the future. The Common Hound Fair was a hoot by the way, and the competition was fierce with a total of 29 dogs vying for top honors in classes like: Sleekest, best tail, best wag, best trick, most obedient, tallest, shortest, longest ears...well you get the picture. Yasi was kind enough to donate training classes to the least obedient dog. It was a tie by the way and both "winners" got certificates good towards future training from her. I just love that idea and I will be stealing it...I mean borrowing it, soon.
We do have a big announcement to make. I will be partnering with Yasi to expand her summer camp, The Whole Dog Camp, a clicker camp for kids on the island, starting next summer. I am very excited about this new venture and there will be more info coming soon.
My dogs Charlee and Finney had very different views of the island as they are very different dogs. If you have a laid back unflappable dog like Finn then a day trip with your dog to Peaks is a must. If your dog doesn't enjoy crowds and people and dogs in their faces, then there are better beaches for you. Either way Peaks is a great day trip with or without your dog.
Oh and speaking of laid back unflappable Mr Finney, lets have three cheers for "Peaks Fest Best In Show 07"! He was "handled (term used loosely) by my 9 year old and he was a real trooper tolerating her skills -- or lack there of.
Mid way through the dog show, two terriers got in a brief tiff right on his front feet and he didn't even budge. Good boy Finney!!! Finney is a great looking dog, and a wonderful mover, with a super sweet temperament. But I suppose it was
the matching red white and blue tiaras that swayed the judges.
Notice that we are abiding by the leash law, although many people don't.
A very tired dog listens to reggae just outside Jone's Landing.
In case you didn't know, Peaks Island has a Reggae fest every Sunday during the summer.
Thanks again Jenny and family!!!
I started my work day @ 6:30 AM this morning meeting with an 88 year old client and her rescue dog with "exuberance" issues at Pine Point Beach. Our goal was to make the young dog more aware of where people were when she got to playing. Young dogs learn body awareness over time, and this one, sometimes "forgets" everything except the moment, which can be quite dangerous for her aging human.
All my kids know to speak loudly when dogs come thundering towards them. My youngest daughter can often be heard chiming "watch out for me!!!", and for the most part that works. My client also uses a walking cane and she plants that firmly in front of her to help make a barrier. Often her friends will step right in front of her to protect her.
I showed everyone how to stand tall and use their energy to keep the dogs away. I showed them all how body posture can be mistaken as in invitation to approaching dogs. Think force field. It is why your dog doesn't jump on me (usually!) Dogs have a big thing about "space".
The dog did get one brief time out so she had a chance to calm down and regroup and we are also working on endless sits. Maturation is really what this dog needs and that will take a bit more time.
This dog and owner relish their morning walks and it does wonders to help the dog be calm and manageable in the house. It was great to see the community pitching in to help her manage the dog. I will write more about this dog soon, and about how we have successfully taught her to meet and greet visitors at home even in times of great, over the top, busting in her britches excitement.
After they went home, my 5 year old daughter and I let our 2 dogs out of the car.
Pine Point is open to dogs in the summer off leash from 6-9 AM.
It is a horrible place.
Ugly and depressing.
The dogs hate it.
Next Dog Beach- Peaks Island
Charlee and I, along with Jenny Yasi and her dogs, will be doing another Freestyle demo at the Common Hound Fair on Sunday. This is part of the weekend long Peaks Fest.
Update! Of course it is a fish head!
It's a dirty job, but someone has got to do it!
This blog has taken on the grueling task of reviewing all the local beaches as they pertain to visiting with our canine friends! This past weekend, Finn And Charlee and I went to Willard Beach in South Portland after dinner only to find that dogs are not allowed on the beach until 9 pm. My bad, I thought it was 7 pm. I have been asking around and apparently the "dogs allowed from 9 pm to 9 am rule" is not true of all beaches. I ask that those of you in the know please post beach hours to the comment section pertaining to the beaches near you, both salt and fresh water. A ways back when I posted about a local pond I was inundated by regulars who didn't approve of me sharing their hidden oasis, but I can assure you that it is highly unlikely that your private Mecca will become overrun with dogs. There are just so many wonderful places in Maine to visit with our furry friends. As a general rule, people go to places that are near and convenient to their homes.
We ended going to Bug Light in South Portland and while there were not any signs posted, I was not sure if we were breaking any laws or not. There were a few other dogs off leash hanging out with fishermen.
What we like about Bug light
Away from cars and people - and the lighthouse is gorgeous! When the breakers are not too crowed you can walk all the way to the lighthouse with your dog. Great photo ops.
What we don't like
Unless the tide is dead low as was the case Friday night, there is not much room for dogs to run. Also we found a ridiculous amount of sharp, broken glass and even the shells seemed excessively jagged.
Next up an early morning romp at Pine Point in Scarborough
Finn says: excellent!
Thanks to Muttlover who pointed out dogs and people are no longer allowed on Willard beach after 9 PM, and may be subject to a $1,000 fine!
Bark in the Park - a Planet Dog fundraiser for The Animal Refuge League at Hadlock Field.
Finn poses with his ticket.
Nikita, 14 years young, was one of the first dogs in the kiddie pool.
Three leashes solved the problem of which one of my kids would get to hold Finney for the parade!
Sophia and Finney made out during most of the game.
Kristen from Planet Dog gave out Buddy Biscuits to all the dogs in the bleachers.
Scooter loved the biscuits, but still wanted peanuts and crackerjacks.
Finn loved bobbing for hot-dogs on the way out.
Lots of hard work went into the planning and running Bark in the Park. Great job everyone!
I did over hear planning for the "next time".
See you there!
Reason 5 million and one, why I love Portland.
I can take my dog to a baseball game!
Three cheers for the Planet Dog Foundation for putting on a fundraiser at Hadlock Field when the Porltand Sea Dogs play the Connectticut Defenders on June 3rd. Dogs and their families are invited to enjoy an afternoon of baseball while raising valuable funds for Porland's area animal shelter, The Animal Refuge League.
Now I ask you...how cool is that?
Before you all get too excited, please remember that not all dogs would enjoy a baseball game. This event is intended for well behaved dogs who will enjoy the crowds, noise and commotion.
Finney, me and the kids are picking up our tickets today, but
Charlee will remain quietly at home where she will be happiest.
Aside from the total coolness factor that I can take my "family" to a ball game,
the event will feature, dogs for adoption from the ARL, a grassy relief area, wading pool, canine watering station, dog treats and games for pups and their families. Doggy valets will also be on hand to care for pets if people need to use the concessions. People without pets are also welcome to come and visit the doggie section. Planet Dog Foundation is giving all dogs in attendance a free commemorative Orbee baseball. Dogs get to run the bases with Slugger before the start of the game. My kids are already fighting over who gets to hold Finney's leash and run the bases with him.
Tickets are $6. for adults and $3 for children under age 16. Your dog will need their own ticket at the cost of $6.
Pooch bleacher seats are limited, so get yours early!
Last week Gina wrote an article for Pet Connection, on why she believed dogs and their owners should have access to off leash areas and not just fenced in dog parks. I could not agree more. Fortunately for me and the dogs we live in Maine where there is still plenty of access to wide open spaces. When I lived in Boston, my otherwise law abiding self broke leash laws on a daily basis. High energy dogs need mental and physical exercise. In fact, all dogs do.
Hiking with dogs is not just a form of exercise for me. I would go so far as to classify it as a hobby. I love watching dogs run and play and I love letting dogs be dogs. I truly think it helps to keep me and the dogs sane and healthy both physically and mentally. It is recreational, but I do get lots of training opportunities in along the way.
This morning's walk was one that I have been looking forward to since I found out that Brewster, was coming back to stay for a while. Brewster my guest with lymphoma got a visit to the Evergreen Woods this morning for the first time in a year and a half.
It was evident that he loves those trails as much as I do. Brew ran and sniffed with my dogs and several times I swear he came over to me to thank me. I will continue to take him hiking and let him enjoy being a dog for as long as he is up to it.
Finney,Charlee and Sophia
It was a great day to be a dog
or a duck.
Sophia-one dirty doodle!
I thought I had the original mud puppy until I took Sophia to the dog park on Ocean Ave. today. At nearly 9 months old, she loves to play and does so with reckless abandon. She is quite adept at skidding through the mud head first.
Can you tell?
After a winter's hibernation, the hose came out to play for the first of many outdoor baths.
As much as I strongly believe dogs should be allowed to be dogs, me and Charlee and guests, will be sticking to higher ground for a while.
This picture sums up my first day of spring.
Just look at the face of my sister's golden who spent about 15 minutes trying to dive for his tennis ball that sunk to the bottom of a small pond.
His mission was unsuccessful, but he looks like he lost a treasured item while undertaking a noble and worthy cause.
sunken tennis ball ='s Belmont's bliss.
Meanwhile...back at the frog
It was too perfect a day not to take a walk at the Evergreen Woods again today.
Today's crew consisted of myself and my 4 year old daughter, Ruby, our Rotti puppy guest, and Sophia, a 7 month old Labradoodle client.
Again I would like to reiterate that taking a walk in the woods with overjoyed dogs (or in the case even better cause they were puppies!) is the cure for whatever ails you. Both my daughter and I loved watching them romp and play.
Ever notice that even with 150 acres to romp on, puppies will play right on top of your kids?
If you haven't gotten your dog outside recently what are you waiting for? The ground is not quite thawed yet and the weather is sunny and wonderful. Remember mud season soon come!
The first day of spring may not officially be sprung until March 20th, but spring fever sure has struck at my house!
Spring bulbs are already popping up everywhere around here...
Ruby, a Rotti pup visiting with us for a few days, proudly shared with me a dead frog that she found off the path in the woods, that surely had been covered in snow and ice for some time. Here she is with the poor frozen being.
Charlee and Ruby had a full tilt romp and both my four year old daughter and I couldn't stop smiling while we watched the two of them race and tag.
Walks in the woods with overjoyed dogs is a good cure for whatever ails ya.
Best part about spring fever with out the actual spring?
Peppered throughout my blog are pictures of my dog being all the mud puppy she can possibly be, and they are all very similar to the photo featured above. The only differences are seasonal. My dog is an equal opportunity mud puppy...if there is an opportunity she is a mud puppy.
We are just back from a walk in Evergreen Woods and that dog slopped through just about every melted puddle and waterway she could find, and she did it with sheer joy and ultimate abandon.
Now you non dog people (if any of you even read this) probably look at this photo and think, what a stinky mess. But true dog people see the photo for what it is.
Happiness for the dog and happiness for the person who just got to witness a loved one having a grand old time. No worries about the mud, the smell, the car interior, the floors or company coming. There was only the moment and I was smiling from ear to ear.
As a matter of fact, I am still smiling.
One of my favorite places to go walking with my dog, Charlee, is the Evergreen Cemetery.
There are 150 acres to explore in this designated off leash area.
From Stevens Ave. Portland, drive straight through the cemetery to the pond. Park on the left side and walk in. Dogs must be leashed in the cemetery but are allowed off leash on the far side of pond. There are numerous side and back ways in that let you access the woods without going through the actual cemetery. Sorry- you'll need to need to find them yourselves, I don't want to be responsible for aggravating the neighboring property owners!
Head straight back from the pond. Letting your dog in the water here is not recommended due to animal feces, waterfowl, and stagnant water. I have been warned several times by the locals (with heavy local accents) that my dog will give us all The Duck Itch.
Beware (or be prepared for a bath when you get home) of the first swamp on your left as you enter the woods. Very nasty! Fork right if you are looking for water to cool off or go left up the hill if you prefer a rockier trail.
Maps are available in the office on the right as you enter from Stevens Ave.
What to watch out for:
These woods are well known to bikers, birders, and families walking to feed the ducks. Spring brings a large collection of Warblers and other migrating birds. May 11th-20 is the Audubon's Warbler week. Be prepared to share the road and remember that not everyone likes dogs! Most of the birders are near the pond, so take care not to disturb them.
Check out the amazingly huge snapping turtles in the ponds. I have seen them kill ducks, so keep a keen eye on your dog to avoid potentially injurious encounters. Many people stopped walking here because of coyotes. As of my walk this week, they appear to have moved on. When they are around, my dog acts nervous and urinates everywhere they have been. Also, the coyotes leave their scat in the middle of the trails. I saw no sign of either today but please do use caution. This a great time of year to visit before the mosquitos can make these woods unbearable by mid summer.
Why we love it:
It is an oasis in the city as it was intended in 1852. It is an easy hike for the kids and not near any roads whatsoever.
There is a lot of room to run and my dog loves the water under the high tension wires. We both find it very relaxing.
Charlee and Sadie meet for 13-week-old Sadie's first time ever off leash adventure in the woods.
Being so young, she follows along willingly. I have warned her owners that this may change in a few months!
Sadie, a 'Golden Doodle' (Golden Retriever and Standard Poodle mix) is my cutest client of the month by far!
Sadie ventures out just a bit after my 3-year-old daughter.
Charlee's favorite way to cool down. Be sure to visit Evergreen soon before the mosquito invasion begins.