Friday, May 6, 2011

A Walk in the Post-Apocalypse Park

Last night I posted a teaser of this here, and today, it was sunny and beautiful, so Elka and I packed up the treats and went to the park!

Of course, being a functioning city park, the illusion of derelict urban stuff really only holds up for so long.  That, and we discovered that the cracked and overgrown "road" leads to the high school.  There was a little wooden bridge over the adjacent creek, not sure yet where that goes.
And we practiced recalls, of course, which were unfortunately less solid than they were in the other park.  However, this park (or rather, this part of it) was a very new experience, so I kept my expectations low and the rewards high (treats this morning were cut-up string cheese interspersed with cut-up, microwaved hot dog), and if Elka played deaf, I reeled her in.  Well, not exactly; she was paying attention enough that once I started shortening up the leash, she would come galloping in.
I also had some fun experimenting with whistling in different ways.  A short, low whistle was "leave it", a higher, behind-the-teeth one was the recall.  We also did a little bit of Stand and Stay, because it's hard to get good candid photos of a roaming, inquisitive Doberman.

And we of course also investigated various metal things that were interspersed with the wilderness.

The interesting time about spending long-leash time with Elka in the "wilderness" is that she behaves differently than on a shorter leash on the sidewalk.  It's more leisurely, I guess, since sidewalks are less for wandering and more to get from Point A to Point B.  There are fewer destination expectations if you're walking in a park, even if it is on a path or road.  There are fewer people around, and no cars, so both of us are I think more relaxed, and better able to read one another.  Sometimes Elka will run back to me just for the sake of it, and I send her out again just as readily.  Sometimes I call her back to me for the sake of it, and the way she runs at me is with the same joy.  I've seen videos of people who trained their dogs to leap into their arms on the recall; that could either be fun, or dangerous, with the DoberMissile, I'm not sure.  She'll run to my arms when I'm in a crouch, anyway; it could be a first step to shaping the behavior.

Another nature walk bonus is the birds.  There are lots of squirrels too, of course, but Elka looks at them, and does not chase.  She loves watching birds, though.  The first time we were outside on a leash, when she was itty-bitty, Elka watched a bird hop across the lawn and then fly away.  She whipped her head around to look at me, as if to say "did you just see that?!)
Just an idea of what our path looked like, no need to play "Find the Doberman"...she's offscreen, stage right.  When we got back to the playground part of the park, a class of kindergarteners were there on all of the equipment, a kid was shooting baskets at the basketball court, and a group on an outing had just pulled up in a van.  Civilization, just steps away.


  1. I love this part of the park. I walk up there all the time, but not yet this summer. Figured it was still pretty mucky up there. Tends to swamp out easily.

  2. There are some swampy bits (and princess actually walked through on purpose to sniff the other side!) but overall, not too bad. It was worse yesterday, today is much drier.

  3. Hi Elka! That's such a unique and pretty name! You are my first Doberman friend, and I'm so happy to meet you! :)

    I look forward to following your adventures!

    Woofs & hugs,


  4. It's nice to meet you Elka! Thanks for stopping by my blog.

    I have a blog that I'd love for you to check out, It's a great place for pet bloggers to find each other and get some exposure!

    Nubbin wiggles,

  5. Hi, Miss Jen and Miss Elka! Thanks for visiting my bloggie, it's very nice to meet you! That park looks very interesting and sniffable! We prefer leisurely walkies in fields and parks ourselves!

    Barks & Wiggles,


  6. I loved when the middle school allowed us to use the field right above the the park as a dog park. There are a bunch of wild grapes between the fence and the path there!

  7. Oskar, thanks for mentioning PetBlogsUnited, I'll check it out for sure!

    Elka is really loving the park walks, everybody. We're fast running out of park to explore!

    No wild fruit in this one, that I've noticed.

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