Beau July 28th, 2007
The “pup” is a now a 75 pound package of unbridled energy. His personality is really coming through, and I’m very pleased that he’s such a good companion. He has a mischievious streak… he loves to “retrieve” almost anything, whether inside the house or out! He loves nothing better than finding a stuffed toy or shoe, or even a dish towel. He walks up with his prize in his mouth, beaming with pride at what he’s found. I tell him “Oh, thank you!” and he turns his head, not wanting to relinquish his new toy. So I try to channel his energy outdoors… he loves chasing a tennis ball, and bringing it back to be thrown again and again. This morning we walked around the fields and he put his nose to work. He loves to swim as well, and will retrieve almost anything across the pond. He actually tried “leaping” through the water towards a training duck… and finally settled down to swim steadily when he found it didn’t make him go any faster. He also has the most intense stare… he doesn’t bark or whine, unless he really needs something like water, or to go outside. Then it’s just a slight whimper. Sometimes he awakes earlier than I do and is really hungry… I’ll hear a little high pitched “Aarrf!” and know he’s ready for breakfast. Perhaps all Labradors are like this one… I don’t really know. But I do know he’s one of the most gentle and good-hearted dogs I’ve ever been around.
Beau May 16th, 2007
A day spent cutting grass… after yesterday’s rain a cool front came through so the opportunity was perfect to get more things done outdoors. But there was time to see the sights and take the dog swimming for a few retrieves. He loves the water now and dives in with abandon. I threw the orange bumper way out in the pond today and he swam for it… but missed it and swam in circles several times! He almost swam across the pond, but came back at my call and finally saw the bumper floating in the distance. He was ready for more when he finished.
We have a pair of Barn Swallows that migrate to South America and back and return each year in mid-April. In May they begin to nest… using the same nest each year above the garage on top of some outdoor lights. I don’t know how many years they’ve been coming, but it’s at least 5 or 6 years now. Once they begin nesting they become a little pesky and swoop at you when you stand too near the nest. But their flight is beautiful to watch and they eat many insects each day. Last week there were five barn swallows all flying around the garage area… I’d like to think they were last year’s young birds returning to say hello. In some places they can become a problem, with many birds building nests. But we’ve only had one pair and that’s just fine with me!
We have several turtles in the pond, but I’m not really sure of the species. Missouri has quite a few different turtle species if you want to see them here. We did see a Snapping Turtle last year, walking through the grass to look for a place to lay eggs. The turtle in this picture is about 10-12 inches long, and probably a Slider or Missouri Slider, especially with the small indentation in the side of the shell at the rear. I took the photo from a distance with the telephoto lens… when you walk anywhere near them, they slide quickly back into the water.
Beau May 9th, 2007
The pup is really growing up now… he’s been going through an independent phase, but the training is working. A little more each day I find his responsiveness to commands is increasing. He is so eager to please, so enthusiastic, and so… vibrant in his zest for life. The only thing he really lacks is a quality field trainer!!! I believe he could do amazing things if I was more knowledgeable… today he stayed while I threw multiple “marks” or floating bumpers in the pond. I sent him for the first and without hesitation he dove right in, brought it back, then I sent him for the second and he brought it back. I threw one half-way across the pond… probably 50 yards out, and he swam out and back with confidence. I’m enjoying the time with him, and I hope to train him more effectively in the next few months. Many duck hunters would be using electric collars, live birds and many more tools to achieve a quality hunting retriever. I really don’t want to use the electric collar… he has a gentle temperament and somehow I think we would lose something. Many dogs can be very stubborn and refuse to learn or train, but thus far he is eager to learn at each step. We’ll keep training and trying new things. He may not become an extroardinary hunting retriever, and that’s okay. Somehow we’ll figure things out along the way.
Beau March 19th, 2007
The Pup is almost 6 months old… he’s getting big! He’s a charming one to be sure… great temperament and a fun-loving nature. We are still training for retrieves, yet not as much as I would like. He finished his first obedience class with flying colors. Now we’re working on refining that including heeling better. He is still teething somewhat and loves to chew. But I see a glimmer of hope that he won’t eat everything he sees… he is calming down ever so slightly from puppyhood. I’m more concerned that he’ll eat something to hurt himself or make him sick! I am amazed at his energy, and try to allow him the chance to run and play outside as well as walking and training. He’s not swimming yet, but loves to play in the shallow water of the pond. I will probably need to get in there with him in a couple months… he can be tentative at times. He didn’t want to go up or down stairs until about a month ago. He does so just fine now, but prefers that I lead the way. He rides in the car very well and doesn’t bark at all. The only time he ever whines is to let us know he needs out, or he’s really hungry! I’ll be traveling next week and will miss him and the family! I’ll be curious how he responds when I return… I’ve been his primary trainer and companion for these six months.
Sleeping quietly on a deck in the warm March sun when visiting “Meemaw”!
And who’s that in bed for story time? I think he loves it up there…
Beau February 25th, 2007
Hard to believe the “little guy” is almost 5 months old now… he grows so fast! Our training is going well, although the wet winter weather has dampened my enthusiasm a bit (not his of course!). We get outside almost every day, and still practice obedience and retrieves. As soon as it warms up I will try to get him in the water. I really think he’s “a natural” when it comes to retrieving and training… the only problems are with my consistency which I’m finding is the hardest thing to maintain. If nothing else, I try to do a little bit each day and hold him accountable for what he does know. I find that reinforcing his prior training pays dividends toward what he learns next. Perhaps that’s true with all of us! Think I’ll look for some professional training opportunities as well. What a wonderful dog he is… here’s a picture from a couple days ago.