Saturday, May 30, 2009

Devon's most excellent day (Page had fun, too)

Friday was an absolutely beautiful early summer day in central Indiana. Clear blue skies and mild temps. We kind of "took the day off" getting a late, slow start. In the afternoon, the girls had a "pond play date" at the Ripley's with Golden friends Archie and Zoe. 

I'm not sure which dogs were more excited, Devon and Page at seeing doggie friends and water or Archie and Zoe at having friends over to play! We headed down to the pond with dokens, Cool Kongs, a floating duck and a floating ball. I wanted to see if Page could figure out how to retrieve in the water, so I thought some of these smaller toys would help.

All four Goldens hit the water and got right in. Devon is usually very reserved about retrieving with other dogs around, even if there are enough bumpers for everyone. Apparently Archie and Zoe aren't "other dogs," and Devon is much more comfortable with them. Not only did she retrieve with them in the water, but she competed for bumpers with them. Seeing her trying to beat the other dogs to the bumpers was a completely new sight for me! Of course if there were more dogs than objects to retrieve, Steve and I just threw more stuff out there.

In the fun of "raining" retrieving toys, one of the Cool Kongs got left in the pond. I decided to see if Devon would send to the toy in the water. It was hard to see because the dark blue Kong was on the dark water in the shade. It was about 40 yards out into the pond. I called Devon to heel, asked her "Where?" and she locked straight in front of her. I sent her on a "back" and she swam straight as an arrow out to the Kong and retrieved it! And she didn't cheat on the way in! What an awesome girl!

Later in the playtime, another Cool Kong got left in the pond. I again called Devon over and lined her up. When she locked, I sent her. This time once she got in the water, she started going left of her initial line. I didn't have a whistle (bad mom) and she doesn't handle in water yet. I decided to say a quiet, "No, no" and see what would happen. Devon changed course and got right back on her initial line and got the Kong. What a great girlie!

Page had fun with the big dogs running in and out of the water and swimming. She did retrieve one ball, but that actually gave us all a scare. She thought once she got the ball, she needed to hold it up out of the water. When the head goes up, the butt goes down and this doesn't make for good swimming. Her front feet came out of the water as she "swam" and then she started sinking. I watched and took one step toward the water and then decided that if her chin sank into the water I was going in. Just before her chin got wet, she recovered and made it to shore. Of course like a good little retriever, she never dropped the ball!

After much swimming, we all headed to the very nice porch to chat and let the dogs dry off and nap. When the bird call clock on the wall went off, Devon's head came straight up and she started scanning for marks to come down in the yard. She didn't give up for some time looking for birds. When it went off a second time, she got up and followed the sound to the corner of the porch! She really wanted some birds. 

A few minutes later after exploring the garage with Steve, Archie and Zoe, Devon came trotting back out with a duck in her mouth (it was dead). Janet and I asked where she found that, and a grinning Steve said he gave it to her. I said she'd have to work for it!

So much to the disappointment of all the adult Goldens, they went in their crates and I took a sight blind pole and the duck and went off across the yard to find a nice blind spot. A few minutes later I heeled Devon to a spot about 50 yards from the blind. I asked her to sit, I asked her "Where?" and she locked onto the sight blind. It didn't take her long to line the blind and her tail wagged 100 mph when she found her duck! This field stuff is really coming together nicely!

Page was not nearly as impressed with the duck as Devon was. It was much more fun when Devon had the duck and was playing keep away. We brought a wing home, though, and Page was more interested in that. I'm not too worried. With her pedigree I think Page will like ducks just fine!

No comments: