One of these days I will quit forgetting that Shiva is a wackadoodle dog and actually jump in before she does something really stupid. I don’t know when, exactly. But it’s gonna happen. One would think after three and a half years I’d have very low expectations and just assume Shiva will choose the most insane path. She has no common sense, not even doggy common sense. She is predictable in her unpredictability. You’d think a gal would learn.
When walking with said wingnut canine, I like to find different ways to challenge her. There are only so many directions to go and after a while I think both of us get bored. Many things in the environment can be used like agility equipment. Rocks, trees, stone walls, and lamp posts are just some of the things I get Shiva to jump on or turn tightly around. It’s great practice. It also distracts her from scarfing whatever garbage she can find.
One of the items I’ve used a lot are park gates. Not the big fancy ones obviously but the lower ones set up to block cars from driving on the path. Kind of like this, only without the cattle grating in front of it:
Some of them are even lower than the one above and Shiva can jump without effort. Most of them are more like chains than actual metal gates. They are perfect for working on simple lead-outs or crosses. Since my jumps at home are too heavy to carry with me, they also serve as a way to get Shiva used to working in distracting environments. For all the good that does us.
ANYway, there is a gate at the end of a local nature trail that is much taller than the others. It must reach over five feet. When I stand next to it, the central bar comes up to about eye level. I am around 5’7″. There is also another bar underneath this one that is more typical Shiva jumping height.
The other day Shiva and I were walking down this nature trail and at the last minute, I decided to direct her to jump between the two bars and over the lower one. Nothing we haven’t done before. Unshockingly, she did it again this time without a problem. Easy peasy. I rewarded her and then turned to get her to jump it again in the opposite direction.
Well, she definitely jumped!
Over the top bar. The one that stands over five feet. She would have cleared it without issue too. That’s the crazy thing. But once she was up there she decided to try to land on the bar itself. Don’t ask me why. Shiva delights in defying logic and giving me weekly heart attacks.
Of course a bar is not a thing easily stood upon. Her feet slipped on contact and I watched my dog spill over the other side of the gate, legs splayed. It would have been hilarious. If she was someone else’s dog and I was watching the action on Youtube.
Shiva was fine. I type that a lot, don’t I? I mean, I am sure she has done irreparable damage that will give her chronic pain later in life but even after she awkwardly hung over the lower bar and scrambled for safety on the ground, she looked at me like she wanted to try it again.
What does one do with a dog like Shiva? Sometimes I am tempted to cover her in bubble wrap and plonk a helmet on her head before I ever let her out the door again. Then I realize she will probably just get the bubble wrap snagged on a tree branch as she decides to climb after a delicious-looking food wrapper that blew up on a gust of wind.
You have to laugh or you will cry.