Life with Sampson and Delilah….The 411

Posts tagged ‘Leash’

Exercising Challenges

It’s been incredibly hot and humid in the northeast the last three or four days which makes exercising the dogs pretty challenging.  I haven’t been able to find any areas of water they can swim in and Sampson is not a big swimmer anyway, so we stuck to our walks.

I generally keep their walks short in this type of weather, anywhere from 20 to 25 minutes,because I worry about heat stroke. If I have the time in the morning before the heat of the day catches up, I like to take advantage of it.  Such was the case the past couple of days.

Yesterday I decided to take the dogs down to the back part of the woods.  This is an area I generally don’t go to for a number of reasons 1) the scare I had back there last year, 2) the path has very easy access to a much larger park so there are generally more people and dogs down there and 3) the path down and back is very steep.

It was only about 9:15 am, but it was already warm and very humid.  There is a lovely little brook (when we have our fair share of rain) down there and it gives the dogs a little drink and a place to cool off.  Plus there is less sun busting through the trees which it makes the hiking somewhat comfortable.

As Kristine indicated last week, The Leaves Are Back In Town which means when you are walking your dog off-leash it’s not as easy to see approaching people or dogs.

The nice thing about this area is there are a number of options for walking, one of which is a lovely wash, that is fairly wide (in terms of hiking trails) with quite a good view of the trail ahead.

Very good visibility.

We walked for about 10 to 12 minutes up the wash, then I turned around and headed back.  I knew this would be the toughest part due to the steepness of the climb.

Luckily there are lots of stones, both small and large embedded in the ground, as well as some areas where tree roots are exposed.  I use these stones and roots as a way to secure myself to keep from slipping and falling.

Almost like stairs.

When we are heading down these steep areas, I usually say, “Easy Delilah, Easy” and she actually does very little pulling and waits very patiently for me.

On the way back up however I have been heard to say, “Pull Delilah Pull.” 🙂

Delilah is spectacular on the hills.  She is also great on the giant rocks, sometimes I actually think she is part Mountain Goat as I have literally seen her go straight up the face of a rock.

We’d been out about 35 minutes by the time we reached the top of the cliff, and yes I’m calling that a cliff, so shut it.

I swear the picture doesn’t do it justice!

By the time we got back to the car it had been about 45 minutes, that coupled with the fact that they were sniffing and exploring a new area, helped tire them out.  After a quick cool off in the pool, they each found a comfy spot and settled in for a well deserved snooze.

Whoo, that was a tough one!


You can say that again!

Delilah did rally a little bit later to play a couple of rounds of fetch to help us make a showing in K-9 Kamp, but for the most part they had a pretty mellow, relaxing day. 🙂

Do you modify your dog’s exercise when it’s hot and/or humid?  If so, what types of things do you do?

Wash, Wash, Wash The Dog…Day One Hundred and Thirty One

There’s a little brook that runs along the side of the field where we take the dogs to play; it’s a dirty little brook but the dogs love it.  They love to run through the brook and occasionally Sampson lays down in it.  I’ve been trying to catch it on video but have been having a hard time with it until today.  I uploaded it to youtube tonight, but let it buffer for a minute or so before watching it; because I’m pretty new to this youtube stuff. (I also got Delilah’s agility run up and the video of how excited Delilah gets when she gets her dinner.

The problem with the dogs running through the brook is they get absolutely filthy!  So every time they go in the brook, we have to wash them off when we get home.  What I started doing was washing them outside.  I take an empty dog shampoo bottle, fill it with warm water and put a squirt of shampoo in it.  We then use the soapy water to wash them quickly and rinse them off with the hose.  Then we dry them off and let them in the house. 

I’m happy that the warmer weather is coming so they aren’t outside freezing, but the water from the hose is still cold!  Although as Chet pointed out, the brook isn’t warm water and they willingly go in there. :-0  Still I am calling the plumber to see how hard it would be to get an outside shower.

Where The Wild Things Are…Day One Hundred and Thirty

Chet was outside working in the yard; I went out to ask him something and I noticed the neighbor’s dog.

Notice the tail....

Immediately I thought, “Isn’t the dog a little old to have his tail docked?”  Then Chet told that the dog had gotten loose and gone to the park at the top of the street and came back missing his tail.  Something ferocious that is not afraid to attack a large dog lives in the woods at the top of the street.  The poor dog had bite marks all over his tail.  The neighbor told Chet the story and also indicated, “This dog does not back down from a fight.” 

I have to admit, I’m a little freaked out.  Without knowing the entire story, such as the time of day the dog got away, if it was gone overnight etc…it makes me a little nervous taking my dogs up to the woods.  I’m not entirely certain that Delilah wouldn’t want to try to fight. I do carry  Pepper Blaster II and had really thought about it more for protection against the two-legged predator as opposed to the four.  From what I’ve read, it should work on a wild animal.

 I wonder what kind and size of animal might be up in the woods and hungry and vicious enough to take on a large dog.  I know you can’t tell from the picture but this is a decent size dog; I would say somewhere in the weight range between Delilah (78 pounds) and Sampson (97 pounds.)

Chet said he thinks the dog is part Chow....that is nothing to fool with.

I’m very grateful that most days/evenings Chet goes walking with us, still I’m a wee bit  nervous about taking my dogs to where the wild things are.

The truth about long leashes….day One Hundred and Twenty Three


A couple of years ago we took the dogs with us on vacation to North Carolina.  The drive is really long with two dogs but mine are pretty good, they do take up a lot of room and the little Hyundai Tuscon is challenging to pack but we managed by using a car carrier on top.

Delilah lying in the car. I love the way the sun is shining on her.

We bought 30 foot leashes so we could take the dogs down to the beach,  and give them a little freedom while still maintaining some semblance of control.    The thing to remember about dogs and 30 foot leashes is not to give them the entire leash all at the same time.  I found that out on our first evening at the beach.  Here’s what happened.  We got down to the beach right before dusk, when all the seagulls were out trying to see what the tide had deposited on the shore.  Chet had Sampson and I had Delilah; Delilah saw the seagulls and Delilah took off after those seagulls.  Delilah can run through a 30 foot leash pretty fast and I quickly found out what it feels like to be running behind a 100 pound dog at full throttle on the end of a 30 foot leash.  I also found out that when you scream, “Stop, help, stop” on a beach in North Carolina, you are pretty much on your own.   Even my husband, son-in-law and his sister just stood there.  Eventually she stopped and I reined her in, so these pictures are of the dogs after the incident.

Delilah in the ocean.


Sampson in the ocean.

Just keep in mind should you decide to try a longer leash for training, that you should slowly give the dog the distance of the leash,  just don’t clip it on and let them go!

Front, Come, Here…they all mean the same thing (Day One Hundred and Seven)

There is no doubt in my mind that my dogs understand (at least in part) what I am saying to them; (which is why we say “W” for walk.)  Just how many words a dog truly understands depends upon the researcher, I have heard anywhere from 160 words to over 250!  I think there are some words that are very important for your dog to understand and these words will be your verbal commands.  You may also want to combine your training with a non-verbal a.k.a hand signals or silent commands.  If I have a hand signal for my command, I use the hand signal when I say the verbal.  If you have been doing this, try not saying anything and just using the hand signal and see what your response is.

 Just as there are varying opinions on how many words your pet understands, there are also varying opinions on what commands your dog should know.  In my mind there are some that are very important and I would like to share those with you here and (in my opinion) how and when you should use them. 

“Sit” – The most basic of the commands, and usually the easiest to teach, this means, “Put your butt on the floor/ground.” I use this command when I am feeding them; when someone is coming in the door, or when we are on walks and a car is approaching (with the hope that if for some reason my dog is EVER without me on the road, it will prevent him from getting hit by a car.) (Non-verbal is a closed fist.) 

“Down” – The command means, “Lie down,” we use this for when we are eating dinner and we do not want the dogs sitting at our sides waiting for scraps of food.   (Non-verbal is my hand palm side down, moving from about waist height down to hip level.) 

“Stay” – This means “You sit or lie where I tell you to, and you stay there until I say you get up.”  This command is important if you are bringing groceries into the house or putting them in the car and you don’t want your dog outside without you. (Non-verbal is hand palm side down, at about waist height.) 

“Wait” – Similar to stay, with the exception being “You will be allowed to participate just not yet,” most times my dogs are in the car without their leashes, when I stop and want to take them out of the car, I tell them to “Wait” this command has prevented many dogs from dashing out a door and getting hit by a car. (Non-verbal is hand with the palm side facing the dogs; like a stop sign.) 

“Place” – Our dogs lie on mats while we are eating dinner, we refer to these mats as “Place” when we sit down to eat we give each dog a treat, when we are done with dinner and they are released, we reward them each with a couple of carrots.  Sampson is so conditioned sometimes when we take the plates out of the cupboard; he automatically goes to his “place.”  Delilah hasn’t progressed that far yet. (I usually point with my finger and then say, “Stay” giving the hand command for stay.) 

Delilah on her "Place."


“Come” “Here” or “Front”This command is a matter of preference, I use “Here” but my dogs will also respond to “Come.”  This means, come back from wherever you are and whatever you are doing and “Check in” with me.  Usually I am rewarding them for returning; especially if we are on the trail. (Non-verbal is me tapping the upper part of my chest a couple of times with my palm, sometimes I will just crook my finger at Sampson.) 

“Ok!”  – This is their release command, it means “We’re done” and you’re free to do whatever you want (within reason of course.)  I usually clap my hands, give them rubbies and tell them “Good Job!” 

Crate” or “Kennel  – What it means is “Get in your crate,” my dogs spend very little time in their crate at this stage, but if you have a new puppy or dog, it is a good basic command to teach.  What you call this is your personal preference, some people also say, “Kennel up.” (My hand signal is pointing into the crate.) 

Leash”  – This means I need your leash on you, because I want you to stay with me.  I do not (as of yet, have a non-verbal command for this.)

“Heel” – The command means you should come and sit by my side,  most people heel their dogs on their left side but some heel to the right, depending on your preference and your dogs.  I will slap my left hand against the side of my leg as my non-verbal command.  Normally you would combine Heel with:

“Walk” or “With Me” – This means you will walk alongside me wherever we are going.  I do not have a non-verbal for this.

“STOP” or “NO” – To me this is one of if not THE most important command, it means what it says, the way I taught Sampson was NO/STOP and directed him away from whatever it was he was doing (Delilah is still learning this one.)  Once he got out of the car and saw a big black crow sitting in the road, his natural instinct was to go after it and he took off, but he did not see the car that was zooming down the hill; I screamed “Sampson, “STOP” and he put the skids on, and stopped himself just as his front feet hit the road. 🙂  I think this command saved my dog.

Of course you must find a word that you are comfortable with, that will also be easily remembered by both you and your pet. 🙂

Day Seventy Eight – The escape artist.

The great escape

Remember the story about Delilah jumping the fence in the update section of this post?  Yesterday morning I let the dogs out and when I went to let them in Delilah was gone again!  Luckily she was next door in the neighbor’s yard, but I had to go out in the sub-zero weather to help lead her home.  The path she took to get there was down hill and trying to climb back up the ice hill was almost impossible.

Formulate a plan

Chet and I discussed the situation at lunch and decided until we can add some height to the fence, we will have to tie her out on a lead.  I really hate having to tie dogs up, but she must be safe.  I cannot take a chance that she can 1) hurt herself going over the fence 2) hurt herself fighting with one of the dogs in the neighborhood 3) run off 4) get hit by a car, well you get the picture.

Put the plan in action

When I got home last night, I walked the fence line; not an easy task with two feet of snow with a layer of ice on it.  I found a spot where I thought she was going over.  Then I took the 30 foot leash I bought to take on vacation and I attached it to the deck.


I let the dogs outside before dinner and after about 5 minutes, went outside to check on them.  Imagine my shock and horror when I saw the leash taut and draped over the fence.  I ran inside and shouted for Chet, threw my boots on and ran back out.  Yes, she went over the fence and was scrabbling about on the ice hill trying to get up or down.

Dad to the rescue

Chet jumped the fence and climbed down through the snow, luckily for him (or maybe not) he sank in the snow (hey, beats sliding on your butt) and quickly got to her.  I kept the leash tight and kept ‘reeling’ her in, finally we got her up to the top of the fence and Chet had to pick her up and lift her over the fence.  Of course we adjusted the area where the leash was tied out so she cannot possibly get over the fence again.  She hates going out on the lead, but she really has to be safe.

I don’t have any pictures of the event because I was too frantic about getting Delilah safe before she hung herself.  I figured you would forgive me. 🙂  Instead here is a picture of my two babies.

Delilah (aka Houdini) on the left; Sampson on the right.

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