Freia and the Knitwhit

A Blog about a Dog with some Knitting thrown in here and there

Mania Sets In October 2, 2006

Filed under: Chesapeake Bay Retriever,Dog Training,Walking the Dog — knitwhits @ 8:33 pm

A Walk in the Cemetery

Rear View MirrorFreia’s last day at her doggie day care was on Friday. I have had her in there since I first got her at 9 weeks to ensure that she was well socialized and would behave nicely with other dogs. I can’t say enough good things about this place, the people are nice, human-friendly, dog-friendly, responsible, caring, the facilities are always clean. There is a large outdoor area for the dogs to run around in, a fountain for them to splash in (that was the big selling point for me, knowing how much Chessies love their water). The dogs are safely grouped in playgroups based on activity level and size (this way little old dogs don’t get stuck with or bowled over by crazy puppies), it’s a reallyDog of the Week great well-run organization. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that my little hound was dog of the week one time… and they’ve used her cheesy mug in promo postcards and pictures around the facility.. I think they liked her just as much as she liked them – it is sort of a Doggie Disneyland. Chesapeakes are notorious for, at best, being aloof, at worst, aggressive, to other dogs. That is not a problem for her now, that’s for sure, she loves to run and chase and be chased – mission accomplished. She’s still not the best at sharing, but that also depends on who’s doing the stealing from her, and she’s a pretty good thief herself at times.. dogs will be dogs..


Red EarthThat being said, I now have her at home, her doggie socialization is established, it’s now time to get her people socialized. Don’t get me wrong, she’s been plenty exposed to people, she loves the neighbors, my mum and a few other people and is quick to warm up to pretty much anyone, but she still barks at things that she doesn’t need to. Today was a particularly barky day. She actually did OK as the day wore on, and I’m sure glad I didn’t have a migraine cos it’s one heck of a bark she’s got going on, she sounds as though she’s about 6 foot tall and 300 lbs.. But.. she was a little too reactive at other times, barking at someone’s sneeze, people walking by, people coming near and she just about exploded at the UPS guy, he was nice about it, and I had her behind a gate and as she did with Larisa last monday, she sat immediately upon command.. I see potential, I really do, but it’s going to be a long few weeks breaking her in to all the daytime noises that she’s not been super exposed to yet.



SprinklersSo, because of her reactivity, she gets to be a bit limited in her freedoms once more until she can prove herself again. This means off leash is off limits for at least a few days and lots of training and focus time. Her world does not come to a crashing end though, tonight I took her for a two hour jaunt around Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland. This place is a real gem. 200+ acres of rolling hills, the most beautiful stone sculptures, well manicured rich green lawns (a rarity in hot and dry California), hardly a soul around, and the most amazing views of almost the entire Bay Area.


Sunset behind the palm

Whether you have a dog or not, if you find yourself in the Bay Area, you have to come here for a walk at least once, you won’t be disappointed.














Dog at duskFreia never ceases to amaze me, she’s been frantically tearing up the studio from the moment I sat down to type this post, the room is a bombsite of pine cone crumbs, stick pieces, a half eaten shoe, chewn up scraps of paper, tennis balls, a cat scratcher and various half mangled plastic water bottles, and mind you, these are the toys that I didn’t just pick up and throw back in her toy box. I turned to her once I sat down again and shot her one look of what are you going to destroy next, little one? and she huffed, then immediately just sat and plopped herself down and is now dozing calmly and quietly. Unreal.


One other thing, starting this blog has been really interesting for me, I now think to bring my camera with me when I go out, and I’m consciously paying a lot more attention to everything around me. I’m taking pictures again, which I’ve not done with any real joy for years (I have a BFA in Photography). I think I’m enjoying this! These pictures today are all from the cemetery, it’s such a photogenic place and the sunset on the grounds was lovely.


7 Responses to “Mania Sets In”

  1. BarbFleury Says:

    I’m a real dog lover too. I have an 8 year old Englsih Springer Spaniel, she still thinks is 2. She amazingly smart and well behaved, but delivery men still send her to the moon, don’t know what it is.

    I love so many of your designs and guess I just never paid attention to where your shop is. We come to CA about every 6 weeks to visit our daughters in Palo Alto and Mt. View. Are you near there at all?

  2. Janet Szabo Says:

    Freia is a darling. I am the proud owner of a Chesapeake, too, and he is such a goofball. He was raised by our Golden Retriever, so he thinks that everyone who comes into the yard is there to play fetch with him. I’d get another Chessie in a heartbeat. Have fun with her!

  3. knitwhits Says:

    Sorry Barb, I don’t have a storefront! But there are lots of local stores that carry my patterns and kits (though not so many in the Palo Alto area..)

    Hi Janet, I had no idea that you have a Chessie! They are really wonderful creatures. No other dog like a Chessie!

  4. Jen Says:

    Your photos are stunning! I’m a novice photographer myself, and am always inspired by photographs that catch light at dusk – it’s my favorite time of day. Freia is adorable too!!

  5. francine Says:

    Hi Janet,
    I somehow came across your blog (probably because I googled ‘chesapeakes and Oakland, CA’),and I just wanted to share a comment or two about my Chessie.

    I am so happy you love Freia. I myself LOVE dogs, but I especially love my Chessie, Taiga. The Taig is a 4.5yo Male, who is definitely ‘special’. I myself took Taiga to work with me from when he was 7 weeks old until 1.5yo. Everything was great- he loved my co-workers, got walked 3-5x a day, lots of love, etc. So, you may ask, why isn’t he going to work with you still??

    Well, like your UPS story, my Taig jumped our postal carrier. She was a dog person and he was only 9 months old then, so we took him to a trainer/behaviorist, then back to work. A few months later, Taig was lying next to me while I was on my computer. Our office manager walked in and came around my desk to show something to me and Taig lunged at her, backing her into the wall. It was only when I got between them and told him ‘down’ several times, did he ‘chill’. That was Taigas last day at my office.

    So, why am I sharing this? I see you’ve taken Freia to dog daycare and dog socialized her and that is GREAT!! Now, if I could, I would tell you to really pay attention to her ‘people’ socialization. I would read everything and do everything now while she’s young.

    I realize every dog is different and having a male chessie (who was clipped last year- should have done it earlier), is different than your Freia. She may never have this problem. However, ‘heads up’! so you can continue to love and enjoy her as you obviously do now.

    The Taig is a special dog and I honestly believe God gave him to us as others may have put him down. He is so loyal and protective. Living in Oakland I know he is always alert to everything around our home and yard, which I love. But, the best part of The Taig, is his companionship and love. For that, a Cheasapeake can’t be beat!!

    Best of luck and send me any swim hole ‘fyi’s’!! (our personal favorite, Shadowcliffs in Pleasanton). byenow

  6. knitwhits Says:

    Hi Francine,

    Yes, Freia is a lunger too. Not nice behaviour at all! We are working on it, and in fact the very reason I pulled her out of doggie day care was to spend more time at home with me, and around people to get her better people socialized. My trainer at Berkeley Humane has seen her do this and doesn’t think I need a private trainer and has given me some tips on what to do to reduce it. I’ve had her in mulitple dog training classes to keep her working and busy, this weeks we start “dog tricks and service skills”. I’m also at the point of better reading her behaviour to prevent it becoming too reactive. Getting a good recall and down is one of the major keys I think.

    Thanks for sharing your story about your Chessie.. They are really great formidable creatures, the best (and sometimes the worst) of all things. I wouldn’t trade her for anything else.

    ShadowCliffs, eh? I used to do triathlons there, didn’t know dogs were allowed in.. if I’m in the area I will check it out. Give Lake Anza a try, it’s nice. When I was there it was fairly quiet, but Freia gets a little kooky around water so it’s not yet the best place for her until she’s out of puppyhood.


  7. Amelia Speck Says:

    Where is the cemetary you mentioned in the bay area? I’m going to be in Oakland early April for a week. Thanks. Amelia Speck

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