Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Puddle elixir

Blustery winds and rainy this morning. That's fine with Zorro, because it gives him more puddle water to drink. Don't know what the appeal is, but he approaches a big puddle with all the enthusiasm of a drunk who stumbled upon a cache of free beer. Passersby must think we never give the poor dog anything to drink.
Found an iPhone ap for an extreme sheepdog game! Can't wait to download it.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Moonless night, rainy morning

Got a later than usual start this morning but pretty much had the park to ourselves. I saw just one dog, and it was far enough away that we made a turn before Zorro even saw it.
The sky was threatening last night, and that didn't sit well with Zorro. When I took him out around 5, he went a few yards, then stopped, plopped down, and refused to go further. The good news is that the fears didn't last: by this morning, he was ready for a run, and didn't want to come in from the yard. Such a change from a year ago.
Denny found this BC blog on Twitter. Check out the eyes on Dexter. He looks even crazier than Zorro.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A river run

I had to take Denny to National early yesterday, so decided to take Zorro and go for a sunrise ride along the Potomac. I parked at Gravelly Point Park, http://bit.ly/ahTFru, which is normally jammed with cars, but at 6:30 AM on a Saturday, it was deserted, except for a couple of taxicabs and a guy who looked like he was having a smoke before reporting to his airport job.
Unfortunately, it was unseasonably cold: 32 degrees in Arlington, and probably a few degrees colder on the water. So we only did a couple of miles. Zorro enjoyed himself, though. And we didn't have to worry about encountering any other dogs; we pretty much had the bike path to ourselves.
Still chilly today but nice enough that there are lots of dogs on the running path, so I'm packing plenty of treats. The running dogs aren't a problem; I can usually distract Zorro until they've passed. But we've been running into a lot of meanderers lately, and that's a challenge. On our way back this morning, we encountered a dad, a little kid, and two little white dogs who walked out into the middle of the bridge ... and stopped. And on our afternoon walk, a little kid came running up the path with a puppy, ao I sequestered Zorro in the bushes until they passed. Then, her father instructed her to turn around and come back. We ended up staying in the bushes for quite a while. It's tough to avoid confrontations when I don't know where the other dog is going.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Counting canines

When we were kids, my brother and I used to play a car game called Cow. We would each take one side of the road and count all the cows we saw. If we passed a cemetary, the first to call out "Graveyard" would kill all the other's cows. Player with the most cows at the end of the trip was the winner (needless to say, this worked much better on country roads than on the interstate).
Even then, my eyesight was pretty bad. Sometimes I counted goats, sheep and horses, mistaking them for cows. My parents realized I needed glasses when I started counting chickens.
I wear contact lenses now, but I still have trouble with distances, especially when it's dark. And that has created challenges on my walks with Zorro, when I'm always on the lookout for other dogs. We're enjoying a bout of spring-like weather, so there are more dogs on the path. And because we switched to daylight savings time last week, it's dark in the morning.
Just like the old days, I've occasionally diverted Zorro to avoid what turned out to be a stroller, or a little kid. But I'm learning some tricks. If I see a runner coming toward me and I can see both arms, I know that one of them isn't attached to a leash.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Wet dog

Endless rain. We had to leave Berkeley Springs yesterday to avoid getting stranded by rising water. By mid-morning, you could have ridden a kayak down Rock Gap Rd.
Zorro, of course, is wet and unfazed; puddle water is his favorite beverage. Went for a walk in Arlington when we got back and didn't see many dogs. Still working hard on "look at me." Yesterday, he looked at me and then barked at a passing dog (a safe distance away). So we have a lot of work to do.
I had dental surgery Tuesday and was instructed not to run for a week, which makes for some challenging outings with Zorro. He has two gears: first, which is his sniff and pee mode, and fifth, which is all-out running. Getting him down to second and third has been a challenge.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tough dog

Say what you will about Zorro, but he is not a crybaby. Denny observed the other day that he's never yelped, not once. If one of us accidentally steps on his paw or his tail, he grunts. I've never heard him make a peep at the vet's, either, even when he's clearly uncomfortable.
This may be a product of his genetics. We've read that border collies are genetically disposed to play hurt: if they're rounding up the sheep they'll ignore all sorts of injuries so they can get the job done.
Warm springlike weather so we're encountering lots of dogs on the path. I'm still working on "look at me" but keeping a safe distance. Yesterday, a guy running with a bulldog came up behind us suddenly and Zorro contained himself, although I have to admit that he may not have had time to react.