Wednesday, 5 October 2011

The boys were off the lead!!

The other big news this week was on Sunday we took the boys for a walk in the woods, to the place we normally go in West Wycombe, where it's rare, though not impossible, to bump into other people walking dogs. The weather continued to be toasty hot, so we took a little picnic too. Part of the walk is uphill, across large fields, which at this time of year the farmer had ploughed but nothing was growing. Lara set off walking up this hill, before a slight difference of opinion developed about something and nothing, and she stomped off in one of her best huffs yet. As we could see all around for hundreds of metres, and there were no threats visible, we just let her stomp away, interested to see how far she'd get before she turned around.
It was about 100 metres, before a circling Red Kite worried her enough to return to us, and we agreed that I'd carry her on my shoulders for the uphil bit.
The really interesting bit was the walk in the woods, where we put Jacky's new muzzle on him, and let him off the lead. We didn't actually bump into any other dogs, but it was a relief to see that within 2 minutes he was trotting along, not trying to take the muzzle off, and coming back to us whenever we called him or gave our two peeps on the dog whistle. He did seem a little subdued whilst wearing the muzzle, not really going more than 20 metres in front of us, but that in itself doesn't worry us. At the moment, we'd rather he did that than run miles away.
We kept Mishka on his 5 metre lead at this point, but after our picnic we came back through the same woods, and decided to let them both off, so for the first time since our December holiday in the Lakes last year (outside of our back garden, of course) they were both off the lead at the same time. Mishka was more adventurous than Jackson, although to start with even he would only go 20 metres before turning to check we were still following. They both came back perfectly when called and whistled, which bodes well for future walks.
We got Mishka back on the lead when we noticed a couple entering the woods, as we didn't want him bounding up to them and worrying them, and we couldn't see if they had a little dog with them, but for those 10 minutes or so, I had what I want to achieve consistently in the future, a walk with my family in nice scenery, with our dogs off the lead, but responsive to our commands. Heaven!

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