Monday, April 29, 2013

Hike #1

With five dogs, it can be tricky to give everyone individual attention. Dogs with an active behavior training program like Rubi and Jai get the majority of my spare time, while stable, sane dogs like Piper Ann get the short end of the stick more often than I care to admit. I don’t think my dogs require individual, personal time with me to be happy. They seem to enjoy hanging out with each other as much as the like hanging out with me, but for my own person sanity, it’s important that I spend time with dogs that don’t require all my brain space to be with. 

Recently, I've been trying to think of ways to spend more time with Maus. Maus has recently reached the point where he appreciates leaving the house every once in a while, but there are a limited number of activities out there that we both like doing. Maus will gladly tag along to obedience and rally classes, and he makes an excellent (if rather bored) decoy dog for reactive classes, but these are very me-driven activities. They are not the sort of things Maus would chose to do for fun. In the same vein, Maus loves tracking and nose work, but I have trouble staying awake for those. 

We've recently found a middle ground, though. Last May, I bought the book 60 Hikes in 60 Miles and then promptly busted up my knee. While my knee is still not in great shape, I think it’s about time I pulled that book off the shelf and got walking, and Maus seems like the perfect candidate to bring along on day trips: he walks well on a leash, it non-reactive to other dogs, and he thinks nature is fascinating (and maybe a little horrifying sometimes). As a goal, I've decided that we will do ten hikes from the book in the next seven month – so by the end of 2013. That means a little more than one hike per month, which sounds easy except that I have five dogs, three day jobs, and a husband in there somewhere, and each of the hikes will end up being at least half a day’s commitment. 

We kicked off our Ten Hikes goal with one of my favorites: Willow River State Park in Wisconsin. I practically grew up in this park, and I adore it. Maus and I took our friends Crystal and Maisy out to see the water fall, and we couldn't have asked for a nicer day, particularly considering that just last week we got eight inches of snow. 

So here's to starting on a good note!


  1. Love, love, love WRSP! I am lucky to have this gem just up the road. As much as we love the falls, it can be a very busy place in the peak season. We mostly stick to some of the off-the-beaten-path trails. And we definitely avoid the lower campground. It was fine with Dexter, but no way could I take Tesla through there.

  2. This is one of the few times I envy you having so many dogs - I have two, and neither of them are very good with being left home alone.... which means I usually have to take both or none wherever I go. And since I'm a guilt-ridden single dog mom it usually ends up being both - unless we are going to a class then the non-student dog waits in the car. Which of course limits our educational opportunities in the summer....