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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Double Dog Dare

Things I've Learned by Walking my Two Dogs
Double Dog Dare.

I started walking my two Jack Russells together several years ago and I’ve had the opportunity to learn a few things about double dog walking. Cesar Millan’s methods are right, but mine work for my dogs. I’m not such a strict pack leader but then again, mine are JRTs. Here’s my take on walking my two ‘June bugs on a string’.

1. Use the same equipment on both dogs. Harnesses are NOT recommended, use collars. I don’t like chain chokes, as my dogs are both civilized and small. I prefer the martingale collar. I have heard some people can use a coupler, a short connecting leash between dogs, but I cannot recommend it with Jack Russells. I believe it could lead to fights and possible injury to one or both of the dogs.

2. The leashes must be the same length.

3. Carry a walking stick or a cane for protection against loose dogs, snakes, etc. If you have pepper spray that may work but it can backfire and it doesn't work on snakes.

4. Be sure your gear is fitted properly to include your clothing and packs. Think comfort and safety, pants not too loose or too tight, cotton socks with sturdy shoes. Wear a hat.

5. Use a backpack or a fanny pack for your supplies. You should carry:

A. water for you and your dogs, at least two bottles.
B. bowl(s) for your dogs to drink water from
C. pocket knife
D. whistle to signal your location if necessary
E. cell phone
F. Extra leash and collar for emergencies.
G. First aide kit (band-aides, sterile wipes, antibiotic cream, etc.)
H. wallet with your ID and if you have any health problems an updated list of your meds. I. always bring any emergency meds you might need on the trail such as inhalers and epi-pens.

6. If you've never walked your dogs before start by walking them one at a time to get them trained to the leash and your signals. Take your time with this as you are setting the foundations for their future behavior. I would suggest that you develop certain verbal cues to help them understand what you want from them. Words like 'Lets Go' to indicate forward motion, Perhaps ‘This Way’ for a left direction or ‘That Way’ for a right direction. There are traditional terms like mush, gee, haw and whoa but use what is comfortable for you. The dogs don't care.

7. Once you have mastered the walk try taking them both out together. If one is higher energy, in the beginning you might take him for a short walk alone then pick up the second dog afterwards. At this point in your training, I would recommend that you take one in each hand the first few times. Leave your stick behind at this point. This is just to familiarize them with walking together and to see if you have a fearful dog or if there is aggression between them. They can cause tripping problems for you and excite his pal. Dog fights can occur, be prepared.

8. When you all have become acclimatized to walking with each other, they you can start to fine tune the walk. Determine which side is more comfortable for you to control the dogs on and which side is more comfortable for you to carry your stick with. Traditionally, they go on the left side. I happen to like the right because it is my dominant hand, but that’s just me.

9. Position the dogs on the selected side of your body preferably side by side. Give your command and step off with the foot closest to them. This gives them a verbal and a visual cue to work from. Take a few steps and then give a halt command. Practice this a few times until they understand what you are doing. If they try to switch sides, don’t allow this. It can tangle you up and cause a bad fall. Just tug GENTLY on the leash or tap LIGHTLY on their flank with your stick. Do not scare or hurt your dog. This should be FUN for ALL of you, if it's not don't bother.

10. After this you will learn to adjust to your dogs and they to you. It is a learning curve. Each dog will react differently according to their natures.

I do recommend that you take things slowly and watch your feet. Dogs are tricky and will try to take advantage of many things to be where They want to be. But if you allow them free rein, you can get into trouble. You can take a hard fall just as easily on flat pavement as rocky ground with a tangle. This is a great way to get your exercise and your dogs’ also. It can be difficult at first and as I said, there is a certain danger involved.

You must be prepared, think ahead, and have the proper equipment in the arsenal in your backpack. Good luck and if you learn something I don’t know about, please let us know.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

SITREP: Home Invasion

From the POV of Cpl Bridget, JRT USMC Cpl

Ooh, le'me tell it, le'me tell it!!

Okay, ruff, go ahead. But remember...

Okay, okay, I remembers.

FROM: Fire-base Cole

TO: JRTUSMCs all over the place

DATE: (what's a date?) {today of course, those numbers I told you.} (oh, okay)
DATE: 13 June 2010

Deer fella JRTMarines

I git to tell this cause it was me. Well, I gotta say, it was both of us, but I caught it and Abbott kilt it. First tho, Abbott sez I gotta set the stage.

We wuz all in the big nest all warm and comfy asleep early this morning when we hears something in the den. I wants to go see, but Abbott sez we gotta warn Mama. Sos we start barking. Mama sits up in the bed and finds her glasses and grabs the big ole iron noiseybang gun she keeps under the mattress.

She looks around kinda bleary eyed and calls out 'Dave is that you?'. Of course it's not Papa. Ifn it was Papa we wouldn't abarked. She sits in the nest and listens real sharp like. Then she hears it too. A noise...inside the house...a strange noise.

Well, hit ain't coming to the nest room, sos we go to guard alert. But silly Mama gets outta the nest and gos a loo kin carrying a holt of the iron gun thing. Well, we hears the noise agin and we go with her down the hall. Then I sees it!

Its a noisy birdy from the chimbley. Them dadburned birds have a nest in there and been making noises fer a week now. One of them has made the mistake of a-comming the wrong way down the chimbley and into the big room. Hes aflying and running into things.

Mama puts the noisy bang gun thing down on the bookshelf. I'm happy cuz I knows what it can do and I'm a little scairt of it. But now, its safe and the bird is mine. Abbott is chasing it around the room but hits too fast for him. Sos I come up and it hits the winder/door and I snatches it right out of the air and crunch down. Then I picks it up and takes it to Mama and drops it on the floor.

Well, she don't look real happy at first but she knows this is what happens to home invaders. I think she's just shocked and maybe surprised. Cause she looks at it and then says to finish it. Well, I knows we got to now cause I done kilt it but its still moving. So, Abbott, being senior Cpl an all, grabs it up and shakes it like a good terrier. Feathers fly everywhere and its ded.

Mama looks at us, says what good Marines we are and ask s ifn we want to go out. Sos we go outside and run and bark and pee like wes susposed to.

Yeah! We guarded Mama, guarded the house and kilt the invader. We good JRT Marines. Yeah!

(is that okay?) {Yea, now Mama will check it and sign it for you, you did good.} (No bro, we done good.)

Yours truly
Bridget Cole, Cpl
Firebase Cole, JRT Marines.

FROM: Firebase Cole


DATE: DATE: 13 June 2010

Okay, the pups scared about 5 years off me this morning.

I was sound asleep at approximately 0500, when Abbott started barking. Bridget was standing next to him but not barking. Of course this wakes me up and I grab my glasses and my 38. I sit up in the bed and don't hear anything at first, then I call out for Dave. He knows better to come into the bedroom unannounced when he's not supposed to be at home. (He's at Lake Sam Rayburn on a fishing tournament.) But no, its not him.

Then I hear it, a flopping noise. And then something being knocked over. So I get up and call the dogs to me and we go down the hallway, Abbott in the lead and Bridget behind me. She's afraid of a gun, probably from her feral days. Then I see it. Its a barn swallow, or mud swallow. We have a community nest in the chimney. A youngster has come down the flu and is trapped in the house. It flies down to about about a 3 ft level and that the end of it. Bridget gets it and its pretty much dead, if still breathing. So, regrettably, I let the pups finish the job. Abbott picks it up and crushes it. Poor thing. It made a bad choice this morning.

But, nevertheless, my two Marines guardians did their jobs like well oiled machines. I was awakened to an intruder, they accompanied me on patrol, and the invader was dispatched in a quick lightening strike attack. So its now 0715. I can have my oatmeal, and head to the barn before it gets too warm.

Hoorah, my little Marines, Hoorah.

Debi, Cpl Abbott, Cpl Bridget and Capt Scarlet the horse Marine

"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion." - Unknown