Kim Archives - Theo's Dog Blog - The Misadventures of a big ginger dog

Kim

My boy Theo

by Kim on November 10, 2012

in Dog Blog

When Michael decided to write a blog about Theo I think he should have called ‘Theo’s Adventures, and the Misadventures of his owners‘.

There are two challenges we face with our ginger menace. The first is that when feeling threatened by another dog he goes for the offensive option rather than the defensive option. The second is his desire to run irrespective of what is in the way.

The second option is easy to manage. After long discussions and consideration, we’ve decided to only have on-lead walks from now on. Yes it’s a shame, because there is something wonderful about watching Theo in full flight in the woods, zig-zagging through the trees, jumping logs, his ears back and the look on his face, pure bliss.

For me that sort of good feeling wasn’t guaranteed. Sometimes it would be perfect, Theo would do his thing and then come back and find me and we would both go home contented. Other times it was a nightmare, two incidents of cow chasing and numerous calls from strangers who had found him in the woods made me re-consider whether it was the best thing for either of us.

For all the people out there shouting that you should never let a husky off lead, I agree, and we have both been very lucky that he had as much opportunity to run free that he has. So now it’s two main walks a day for both of us. I try not to scrimp on the walks, I aim to do at least an hour each for both walks and sometimes this extends to an hour and a half or on some occasions two. It isn’t a gentle stroll, we go at his pace – a husky trot designed to cover maximum distance. Luckily one of Theo’s favourite things to do is sniff and smell all the scents, so I get plenty of opportunities to catch my breath, still three hours exercise a day is a lot – for me!

The first challenge is more difficult to manage. Mainly because Theo is around 34 kilos and designed to pull and I’m around 54 kilos and not designed to restrain a dog that weighs that much and that has 4 paw drive. Frankenfinger is one of the mishaps I have had while trying my best to hold on.

We had some really good advice recently from Pat Moore about our choice of walks and it occurs to me that it should have been obvious to us that walking Theo in heavily wooded areas where he doesn’t have the option for ‘flight’ leaves him very little option when he feels threatened. It’s not that it happens a lot, if you have started following our ‘dog log’ then you’ll notice he has many more smiley faces than sad ones. It’s just that when it does happen it is usually me on the other end of the lead.

So we are trying to find walks that are more open areas and give us the opportunity to make a right angle turn. Having tried walking Theo in the opposite direction on numerous occasions and being met with an immovable ginger object it was also brought to our attention that this was not a good idea. Why would you turn your back on someone if you thought they were going to attack you? Theo has managed well despite our naivety and lack of understanding and hopefully we are now on the right track and doing more of what will make him feel comfortable.

It’s a steep learning curve. I grew up with dogs but the responsibility for looking after them rested squarely with my parents. Theo is the first dog I have had responsibility for and it’s both hard work and enjoyable. He has many wonderful qualities and I am constantly surprised how besotted I am with him, not to say he gets away with bad behaviour he doesn’t. I aim for firm but fair and hopefully get somewhere close.

So what about the misadventures? – watch this space, although they won’t be chronological I will try to give you a rough idea of the timeline that they follow. The first one involves a stream, the scent of a fox and me squashing a Jack Russell named Hettie who wasn’t best pleased!

email