Sunday, January 18, 2009

Working with Murphy

Murphy is a Patterdale terrier, some would call her a Fell terrier.

Her breed is bred to go underground in search of groundhog, fox, and the like. Murphy loves to do that kind of work, but unfortunately, we don't have the right kind of terrain here on these barrier islands. There are no groundhogs here to dig the holes. So fox will shelter wherever they can, under tree roots, in crawl spaces, etc. Coon and opossum do the same. So having a hole dog here is sometimes tough.

The original thought was that I would use Murphy to bust rabbits and squirrels for the Harris'. But I honestly haven't done much of that. I get scared that the dog will run off.
I was one of those kids that never had a dog as a kid, so all the training I attempt doesn't come easily to me.

And Murphy likes to run deer.

So as breeding season for the hawks quickly approaches, I have decided that I need to spend more time training the dog.
Today was the first day in a long time that I took her out to walk. Not just the normal walk around the block, but out where she can run a bit
She was dragging a lead, and she had a low power shock coller on, but I rarely needed either.
I think I had to shock her once (hate doing it). Then she remembered real quickly what the COME command means - or more accurately - C'MON.

It was gray and cold. Just a few degrees above freezing, and the rain spit at us in bursts. It was the perfect day for it.

We wandered through the coastal dunes, and along the ridges next to where the sand is slowly swallowing the maritime forest as the dunes migrate towards the sound.
The wind blew, and the dog listened.

She did great.

We wandered into the pine forest, with the wet needles beneath our feet, holding the animal scent. She was more distracted, but she still listened.

It was a good day.

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