Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Off Lead

Everything I have read about shiba inus recommended one thing: never let them off lead as they have a high prey drive. I have always wanted a dog that you can let off the leash and play fetch with in a park or something. My first dog, a Korean Jindo, has an extremely high prey drive and couldn't be trusted off lead. Although I will admit, she is a clever escape artist and would randomly get loose and roam the neighborhood. God knows what she killed during her time away from home, but she always came back in one piece and without blood all over her so I figure we're ok.

Anyway, my friend Fox has a male shiba inu named Jackson. Jackson is the very rare shiba because he listens to Fox attentively and can be walked without a leash. He stays relatively close by and although he doesn't know "sit," "shake," or other cute tricks like that, he knows "up" (get up on the sidewalk), "heel," and "watch out." It's so amazing to see an animal who is so prissy and independant willingly listen to his human and follow him devotedly around. Jackson will also willingly give up pursuit of squirrels, rabbits, and other small vermin he comes across. I'm jealous.

Since moving to the suburbs and noticing the lack of sidewalks around here, Corey and I take the dogs to a near by park and let them run around. We use those super long training leashes on them so they're easier to catch if need be. Sometimes I think I can trust Cooper off lead because he has no interest in anything. He doesn't care if a squirrel is less than 3 inches from him, he doesn't care for other dogs, children, or balls thrown in his general direction. After we switch leashes on the dogs, Pickle takes off and runs around in ecstacy while Cooper rolls around in the grass and plops down to watch Pickle. He doesn't want to run, play, or enjoy the great outdoors. Corey and I have to coax him to run by dragging him a little or getting Pickle to attack Cooper. Cooper just isn't interested in being "free." If I walk away to the other side of the field, Cooper will pick himself up and follow me. Even though he has some free rein, he stays no farther than 15 feet away from me.

This is Cooper just sitting in the park. Pickle doesn't stay still long enough for me to take a picture and I only had the camera on my phone available. Anyway, I kind of worry about Cooper's weight because I feel like he isn't getting as much excercise as he did when I lived downtown. I wold walk him for at least an hour after work and since I don't have a car, whenever I went anywhere I would drag him with me for a false sense of security against the homeless and the crack whores. I don't get home until much later now that I live so far away and usually I have to start dinner almost as soon as I get home. So poor Cooper will be driven to the park that's less than a mile away, I make him run for about 20 minutes, and we walk around the park but in all honesty, the entire trip takes less than half an hour. Totally not enough excercise for Cooper and Pickle.

I just feel guilty I suppose. I don't want obese dogs but at the same time I'm too lazy to do more than the run at the park. Living in suburbia really does make a person lazy...

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