|Taking John for a hike|
|Enjoying a hug :o)|
There couldn't have been a more beautiful day for hiking with a two-year old shepard-terrier mix than this 70 degree September afternoon. I believe that even if it had been ice storming (!), Mandy would have shown the level of enthusiasm she did today when I picked her up from Stray Rescue's Pine Street location. She greeted me as if we had previously met--with ample kisses across my face! I sure haven't run across such a HAPPY DOG in a long while! As we got in the truck to head to the house, she politely hopped in the front seat next to me and licked me again. Somewhere in her merry bones, she already knew we were going on a hike.
Meeting "the canine gang" went well, except with our heeler pup, Max (age one), who is a tough dude for most stranger-dogs to befriend. He figured out Mandy was dominant (to him), so he backed away and let her show her gentle superiority. She loved my sons, licking them and displaying that "wow I haven't had this many fun people in one place ever!" behavior.
Our hike was a challenging one, up and down rocky hillsides and over and under felled oak and hickory trees. Mandy was light on her feet, and kept up with Blue and Caledonia, and even my son, John. He ran her on that trail til she should have become exhausted (like Blue and Callie did), but--nope--she was still going strong at the four-mile mark. Not overly energetic, just in good shape--an excellent trail-running dog, if you ask me.
She could tether without difficulty to Blue, my "master hiker", though she tended to pull him a bit. I think she just needs to be trained a little better on-leash. She certainly enjoyed all the things she saw and smelled, and some of the pulling would be expected with her obvious JOY in hiking FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HER LIFE! (I like to try tethering because it gives the dog a friend to "hold hands" with, as well as a chance to explore "off leash" with a trusted canine guide.)
I also feel she is trainable in other ways. She is definitely an athletic dog, and could be a good running partner. She would be fine with kids over three, though she would need to control the licks or she might drown a small child! (JK) She did not have an accident in my house nor in my truck. There was no attempt to destroy anything, but Mandy certainly has an explorer gene! (In the house and on the trail). She accepted the chew bone I gave her before we parted very gently, and her darling eyes sent me a shot of gratitude. "No girl", I said...."thank YOU."