Sunday, June 17, 2007

Dock Jumping

It's 85 degrees here today, and like a loyal companion, Indy has abandoned me in favor of a much cooler spot downstairs in front of the fan. To be fair, he does come to check on me once in a while, when he verifies that I'm still breathing and still not preparing food for him, he returns to his nice cool spot.

In the mean time, I am recovering from a wicked sun burn that I got at the UKC Premier show on Thursday. We were at the show because Ultimate Air Dogs was hosting a dock jumping event, something I've wanted to try with Indy ever since we saw it on ESPN back in January. Like a good dog mom, I made a check list of everything that Indy would need for the day; crate, toys, water, treats etc ... forgetting, of course, people food and sunscreen. I spent the next two days laying on the sofa, huddled under a blanket even though it was 80 degrees in the room, trying not to move or breathe, while Indy would, at regular intervals, come up and lick, scratch or lean against the most painful parts of my body. He was trying so hard to be sweet. Now that the pain is starting to subside, I think it was all worth it.

We had a great time at the dock jumping event. Indy got lots of practice and improved with each jump. His first recorded jump was 2'10", don't laugh, it's not that bad for a newbie who skidded to a stop at the end of the dock to peer over the edge before proceeding :) I don't recall what his second recorded jump distance was (I had to lay down on the dock and splash my hands in the water to convince him that there really was water in the pool, at which point he used the hand that was still on the dock to launch himself into the pool, I was too busy nursing my hand to listen to the judge's measurement), the third jump was 5'10" and the fourth was 7'8". By the end of the day he had very little hesitation at the end of the dock. In all, I think he had a great time. Het got to spend all day outside meeting lots of dogs and lots of people and he got to swim and go for a long car ride ... what more could a dog ask for? He slept for almost 24 hours straight, a sure sign of a happy and content lab.


This is my first blog, so if you have any constructive suggestions for how I can improve it, please leave feedback.

This blog is dedicated to my yellow Labrador Retriever, Indy. It will be focused on Indy, Labs and dogs in general.

Indy was born on August 29, 2006. He was one of eleven pups, though by the time we went to visit his litter, there were only two left, a boy and a girl. It was an easy decision, Indy made a beeline for me. In fact, he plowed right into me, a sign of things to come (he's taken a few people off their feet). We did what nearly everyone who goes to look at a litter of puppies does, we fell madly in love with the first puppy we saw.

Luckily, it worked out for the best. His parents were both friendly, calm, well mannered yellow labs. Indy was very friendly, but confident enough to explore and play on his own. He had even been raised in a house with two orange cats, very similar to our own.

When we brought Indy home, we had about an hour drive, during which time, he alternated between whimpering and burying his head under my arm, sleeping peacefully and puking in my coat pocket ... in hind sight, giving him that peanut butter treat before getting in the car was not such a great idea. The first few nights were typical, he whimpered, whined, slept, peed and pooped, a lot.

The cats were not especially pleased with the new addition, but within a few hours, they began to venture into the living room whenever Indy slept or was confined to his play pen. It was not long before they put the new puppy in his place. Indy was in awe of the cats and their ability to jump to great heights. He tried many times as a young puppy to mimic them as they jumped up on desks, tables, beds and the sofa ... he would bring up his front legs as if he were jumping, though his back legs never left the ground. Then he would sit back and pout because he couldn't follow the kitties.

One week after Indy came home it was Halloween, which meant that he got to meet every child in the neighborhood, all the little demons, angels and superheroes, and he loved each one equally. He would pout each time they left, then nearly burst from excitement when saw the next group of kids coming down the sidewalk. To this day, he is just beside himself with joy every time he sees a child.

Puppy hood was a real trial for us. Indy was a very, very, very high strung lab puppy, a non-stop chewer, biter and barker who never, ever, ran out of energy. Luckily, over the past few months, he has really mellowed out thanks to his age, changes in his diet and no doubt, more experience on the part of his humans. No matter how much you read, you're never prepared for your first puppy.

I'm happy to report that Indy is now a well adjusted, adolescent lab, who is a joy to be around, though he is still mischievous (a trait that I think should be written into the breed standard). He will steal anything that he thinks you value or that he shouldn't have, namely socks, remote controls, shoes etc., in an effort to get you to chase him. This is by far his favorite past time, he never wins, but refuses to give up. His other favorite games are fetch, tug and irritate the cat then run and hide behind a human for protection. He also enjoys digging up flower beds and counter surfing in his spare time.