A Walk in the Cemetery
Freia’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 really 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..
That 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.
So, 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.
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.
Freia 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.