The dogs and i have been hiking more as we have all gained a few pounds since leaving the ag property for a house ‘in town’. Since i still use Molly on livestock, it is important that at least one of us not be a physical train wreck. Honestly, hiking also seems to be great for her confidence and her body awareness. I watch her progression most at Robe Canyon, as it is the first place that i ever took her that requires a little bit of footwork, but even here at the Haybrook Lookout, she has to mind her feet. There many stairs, both purposeful and not. Those stairs that actually tree roots, rocks and dirt footholds are out of her comfort zone. I like to watch her mind work through them. Then there are people. Molly is good with people, but due to its short distance, Haybrook is popular with the new families who have (gasp) little kids. Thankfully, most of the families have dogs at home and the little kids are so very careful and patient with Molly. She doesn’t not like kids, but she’s unsure of the small things that are neither identifiable as peoples nor built to be dogs or cats or cows. Kinda like the giant piggy bank at The Pike Place Market… it has issues, give it lots of room.
Hiking is our cross training. Everyone has their own way of doing it. She’s really starting to get her feet under her as a trail dog; making good choices, earning her freedoms. Spokane is where i’ll make the decision about whether or not to retire her. Part of that internal conversation is whether or not i can keep her in sufficient physical condition to do the 7-10 hours of work on her feet irregularly. It’s not that she has to stop working stock, but if she is in poor musculature and isn’t up to the demands of the big jobs, then it is unfair to ask her to keep doing them.
Doesn’t mean she’ll stop having a good time.