~Modified Training/Staying Positive
Loki and I are making the best of things during these unusual times. Modified training moves forward, and this summer Loki got to try out the ATV’S. Apparently it’s not so different from the snowmobile– a couple of treats, and we were off! The goggles (RexSpecs) are not his favorite, but they were helpful in the dust.
One of the biggest things we worked on this summer was obedience. I’ve learned a lot in my time with Loki, and we’re getting close to where we want to be, which is strong off-leash reliability. One of the most important things we have to do is a remote down, which we use as an emergency stop. I use a voice command and a hand signal that he can see at a distance, and no matter what he is doing he must immediately drop into a down. We really struggled with this until I figured out to use his ball as motivation, and we made it into a game with fetch as his reward. I’ve learned for Loki that his obedience training needs a balance of games, while also firmly enforcing the commands when needed.
We had a nice little adventure this summer on a backpacking trip. Loki has his own pack so that he can carry his bulky (but light) sleeping bag and pad. The best part is that he can now carry out his own poop bags!
Happy early Thanksgiving 🙂
Erica + Loki
As you might remember, Loki is involved with Search and Rescue; therefore, absolute obedience is a must. While he is in training, nothing could be more accurate than Erica is also growing and learning how to get compliance. Their journey together is different than the average pet person–but every experience is fraught with potential issues. It is nothing short of amazing to see what they have achieved together. We know it has required a lot of dedication and hard work. Erica, thank you for what you and for remembering us with the update.
~Summer Snow on Mt. Hood
Thought I’d share some of our fun so far this summer.
A few weeks ago we did some training on Mt. Hood— you have to work a little harder to find snow in the summer!
This is Loki peering into the cave at the subject he just found— he had to dig in to get his toy!
Yesterday (on the 4th of July) we had a chance to participate in our American Hero’s parade. It was by far the largest group of people we’ve been around— Loki just wanted to say “hi” to everyone along the route… not our best loose-leash heel haha.
After Hood, I decided to start training Loki to wear Rex Specs for super bright conditions… the first step is to introduce him to the frames without the lenses… I think he is less than impressed. But he gets lots of treats when he has them on!
Hope you and Cliff are doing well 🙂
-Erica (With Loki –Search and Rescue Training)
We are always amazed at your success–you are doing an excellent job with Loki. We loved the share from your work on Mt. Hood as well as the American Heroes Parade. The both of you make us proud.
It seems the Rex Specs probably seem like a punishment (Haha), but they are an excellent idea. Let us know how it comes along. I think it is like everything else you are doing with Loki–keep after it, and you will master it. He will learn to accept the goggles. I am positive. Anyhow you can tell Loki he is not the first OwyheeStar to don these goggles–click here.
~Loki and Erica
Boy did we have a busy winter! Things have finally slowed down enough to email you with an update. Loki had a fantastic ski season– we worked really hard training for avalanche rescue. Though we weren’t quite ready to test for certification at the end of the season, we were very close– and I’m happy with that for an 18 month old Weimaraner 🙂 we will work hard and hopefully be ready to test near the beginning of the next ski season. I will be happy to feel a little more solid on the obedience side– we’re working towards full compliance off the leash, and we’re getting close, but there are just so many interesting distractions sometimes!
Maybe in my next update I’ll send you some footage of our obedience work. Right now, we’re debating how to spend our summer months– I would like to cross-train him on another discipline so we have something to keep us busy during the summer. The key is to find something that won’t confuse the work we do with avalanche rescue. Some avalanche dogs do water work in the summer months, so that’s one option we’re considering. In the meantime, I’m enjoying looking through our pictures from this winter. It was hard to pick just a few… so I sent quite a few… you may have to pick and choose 😉
Here’s a day in the life of an avalanche dog:
First thing in the morning, it’s important to check all your ropes and boundaries. Loki wants to be sure no one gets lost.
Safe travel skills are important! Here, Loki is practicing with one of the other patrollers, in case one of them ever needs to handle him.
Here, Loki rides with me on the chairlift. This is the main reason for the load-rated harness he wears while working.
(to be continued…) –Erica
We are very happy to receive this update from you and Loki–and especially proud of the two of you. Thanks for all this hard work, you are doing great!
The Trip Home
~Part One–Our Beginning
It’s been an eventful few weeks; however, Loki and I had a fairly uneventful trip back home. We stopped by Walla Walla on the way to see my family, who fell in love with Loki—I wasn’t sure they were going to let us leave!
There were a few housebreaking accidents the first week… but I’ve learned pretty quickly. So has Loki. He goes to work with me every day and has the office under his spell. He is curious and friendly with strangers, and though he is quiet in new situations, he comes out of his shell once he’s had a chance to take it all in.
We are so happy to hear from Erica. She sent us a lengthy update which we will break into three parts. We appreciate her detailed explanation of the experience thus far. There is more at stake with Loki–as he is hopefully going to become a part of the Search and Rescue (SAR) team with Erica. This pup is her first to train for SAR, so there is a lot to consider. Nothing but the best combined with attention to every detail– at the same time she keeps calm and collected. This approach will get the desired result.
Finally, let’s all remember raising your first pup is a growth experience. Well–raising the Weimaraner is always a growth experience. They require you to dig deep and to get ahead of the stuff that comes with as well as to avoid being reactive. (OMG) Well, anyone who has been down this path knows that there are surprises. Some are welcome and others not so much. More than anything, the Weimaraner needs to bond and develop the desire to want to please you. Of course, that doesn’t mean they do not have to obey and achieve specific necessary skills. There are those who became so enamored with their intelligent and engaging pup that in the excitement they forgot this is a journey for the Weimaraner and their human. Respect is a two-way street. We cannot wait to see what Loki and Erica achieve together. It is not a race with a time limit. It is a journey to see what they (Erica and Loki) can accomplish as partners.