Saturday, April 07, 2007

Kodos' First Swim

Yesterday we had an unseasonably warm day (80 degrees!) and as Laurel's brother Jay was in town visiting, I took the day off & we headed over to Scenic Beach State Park for some fun in the sun.

We of course took Kodos along (had to drive in 2 cars, but we were more comfortable that way anyway) who wilted a bit in the heat, but was very eager to get out & about in the wonderful forest there.

We set ourselves up on the rocky but not unpleasant beach, and then had a stroll. I led K down to the water (still not confident enough to let him off-leash) and he seemed a little interested in the water, but not overly so. It was mostly about the new smells and creatures at that point, and as I didn't want to get wet myself, we just padded around the shore.

Cut to after lunch. Some kids started throwing rocks into the water (a very common occurrence of course--you put kids next to water, and they're going to throw stuff into it). For some reason, this set K off--he was barking and seemed to really want to get down there. So okay I figure--let's see if he'll actually get into the water. We go down (away from the rock-throwing kids) & I lead him into the water (always on-leash w/his gentle leader harness). You could tell the water resistance felt really weird to him by the way he was watching his own front feet.

I cajoled & goaded him out further and further by throwing his tennis-ball dumbbell toy nearer/farther away, until he finally got to a place where he couldn't really just walk, and--check it out!--his legs started that familiar paddling motion and my boy was actually swimming! He even retrieved the toy a couple of times (tho as often he just nudged it w/his nose & then turned back, leaving me to wade further out into the water to get the toy back). He had a couple of revelations, including that he couldn't breathe when he stuck his face into the water, which I think sobered him up some.

It was really interesting to have his attention on me. Up until that point, he was pretty heedless of me, being completely engrossed by the park, the other dogs and people there. But when we were in the water and I was throwing the dumbbell toy around, I had his attention. It wasn't quite as as intense as that of the border collies we see at the dog park when their person is chucking tennis balls, but it was close. At one point--possibly overconfident--I took his leash off to see if that would embolden him in his swimming out for the ball. It didn't seem to have that much effect, and he lunged toward a thrown rock, so I grabbed him & leashed him up again.

We may have a water dog on our hands! :-D

Once we got home, I tethered K up to the deck & gave him his first garden-hose shower (up until now it's all been tub showers). He was not amused. I discovered later that he'd cut one of his paw pads a bit--no doubt on a rock in the water. It bled some, but seems fine now. We'll keep an eye on it.

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