Alaska Walkabouts

The adventures of an Alaska Wildlife and Nature Photographer.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Training up a Storm

Storm and I have been together 5 months now. From the moment I got him it seems life has been nothing more than trying to mold him into a well-mannered relaxing dog like Bryn was. Puppies are cute and I love them dearly but they are stressful. You never know what they are going to get into and they need to be exercised to the point where you can actually both get a good night sleep. They say a tired dog is a good dog and I know it's true. When I got puppy Bryn he and I spent entire days in the mountains so he never had the energy to get into trouble. I have done things a bit differently with Storm and am mostly doing two walks a day. A long one in the afternoon and a long one at night. Mostly the plan has worked. After an average of 5 miles a day he is worn out enough that he and I have a pretty good night. Not always but usually. Storm is the most active dog I have ever had. Since getting him I have lost about 12 pounds! But I am not sure I can keep up the pace. My left knee is giving me some issues and and I have some tendonitis in my right ankle. Other ways of wearing him out involved putting him through two puppy basic classes, one with Alyeska Canine Trainers and one with Alaska Dog Sports, plus taking him to many puppy romp sessions held at our local Petco. I can't tell you how much all of us owners and our puppies have enjoyed that opportunity. Here are a couple shots from Petco's puppy romp. I was too busy at the puppy classes to take any pictures.

Tumbling with his best friend Brady

Storm and Brady head into the tunnel

Storm and Brady go at it 

Best friends Storm and Brady

Tommy the pig joins in 

Storm and Tommy 

Working with Storm around Tommy

Tommy the pig joined in at Petco and at first, Storm was a bit charged up about it but we just worked with him next to Tommy and after a few sessions Tommy just became something to jump over while the puppies wrestled. As we run into many moose on our hikes, the loose chickens next door, and a feral rabbit in the yard, I am applying the same routine in hopes they become just like Tommy; nothing new or exciting. Many of our bad moments have involved moose because if he gets a scent of one from the forest, he bolts. He has such an amazing nose I think he would be a good search and rescue dog. I mostly keep Storm on leash but a few surprise encounters have happened and I either get Storm out of the area or, if the moose seems content and mellow, I will on-leash train Storm right near it. Redirecting his attention with treats, making him shake, down, sit, anything to redirect his energy away from chasing the moose or barking at it. And we are making good headway. I hope one day that Storm not longer pays any attention to them. He is still just a pup and has  lot to learn about the world. One day on a hike I found a dead Dall Sheep. Bryn was going nuts over it so I just sat down next to it for 20 minutes and did my usual training right next to it. He slowly calmed down. By the time we had done two more hikes by it, Storm seemed pretty well over it. Here are some pics from our earliest hikes and walks.

Little storm and some lynx tracks

Storm in the mountains 

Storm on the frozen Sand Lake

Storm on Sand Lake

Storm makes friends out on Sand Lake. He is really good with other dogs.

Storm and Mom

Storm at Home

Storm Listening

If he was a cat I would have named him Socks!

Storm and his Petco Ball

Hanging out the back of the truck. One of his favorite things and something I thought I would never see again when Bryn left me.

Me and my newest furriest friend

One of my favorite shots 
Storm is the most stick-oriented dog I ever had. I kind of didn't want it to happen but he seemed to be born that way. Already I have had to pluck a chunk of stick out of the back of his throat on a dark walk at night (Scary) and he got a splinter in his gum. So I try to substitute rubber and plastic things for his sticks. It helps anyway. On the plus side the sticks keep him near me when he is off leash.

He's a strong pup!

Storm is an amazing athlete. One of these days he may just stand up on two legs and walk away.

The toy that prevents lots of potential trouble due to splinters, and ingestion of wood

So Storm is 10 months old now. On or about April 14 he will be one year old and no longer a puppy. how quickly this will all be gone. But at least if I do my part correctly I will enter into a more relaxed relationship with a mature well-trained dog. I will post his progress here of course. My next big step with him will be to load him in the boat and take him out into a whole new world for him; Prince William Sound which may happen next week. He still has so much to learn but one step at a time and he will get there. Here are more pics from the most recent hikes. I am glad I forced myself to take lots of them while he was still a pup. I am trying to enjoy his puppy hood instead of just turning him into an adult as fast a possible.

Storm and his friends Brande and Rusty

Me and Storm and Rusty

Brande, Rusty, and Storm

Me and Puppy Storm

Muddy Storm after stepping where he shouldn't!

Storm in an old snow slide at Byron Glacier

Getting his feet wet

Looking very worried in the boulder field at Byron Glacier

Me and Adventurous Storm

Storm on the loose!

Exploring an ice cave at Byron Glacier. Storm is off to a grand life.