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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Camp life and dog training

Almost every morning in our campsite, a group of three Gray Jays would visit. They are such gregarious birds who whoop and try to make friends with everyone. I love Gray Jays.
Around our campsite, mushrooms were popping up everywhere, including these very poisonous Amanatis mushrooms. I noticed the Gray Jays pecking at the mushrooms, and thought sadly that I was seeing them eat their last meal. Since coming home, I've learned that Gray Jays can eat these mushrooms with no ill effects. Indeed, the Jays might have been visiting our campsite specifically for the purpose of eating the 'shrooms.
Some of you might remember that our dogs have gotten into trouble by eating mushrooms in the past. Since this species is the most poisonous in our area, I feel lucky that R has absolutely no interest in these bright mushrooms. That was a big relief since R was close to them all the time in our campsite.

R and I continued our training games at our campsite. I am teaching him tricks like "take a bow", retrieving all sorts of objects to my hand, and targeting spots with his paws. That last one, targeting with his front paws, is very helpful with photographing him. I took both of the next two photos at sunset with R's paws targeted on a specific spot.
 Even when he scented something, he kept his paws in place and just lifted his nose.
It's been fun teaching R all sorts of tricks. I never spent a lot of time training him in the past because K would mope jealously. I've found that he's very smart... but, at times, it's almost like trying to train a hyperactive flea. He is so responsive that he hops or jumps or sprints at the slightest change in my body language. It's made me very conscious of what my gestures are *really* telling R.

R also gets frustrated sometimes when he has had enough of thinking hard. I am teaching R some tricks by shaping his motions using a clicker. I love using this training method but a dog has to truly engage his brain to figure out what the trainer is looking for. I need to learn to stop our sessions before sweet R starts barking in frustration!
Ah, what fun we had in that campsite! I love having views like this on the horizon.


  1. I think I would have been nervous having all those mushroom around!

    I agree with Nola - what a gorgeous place!


  2. Any time you need a pup to work on, feel free to head to OP and help out with Lightning. He is very smart, but stubborn too.

    It is so good for you to have R there to keep you distracted from your sorrow in a very good way. Hmmmm, maybe another of K's plans.

  3. That last photo is stunning. R continues to make me smile, like the OP pack, if you need another one to test your training on I've got two that need some work.

  4. Amazing how something so bright and beautiful can be so poisonous. I have never seen a Gray Jay before, they're a pretty cute bird. I'm sure R is loving all the attention of you training him but I can imagine he lets you know when he's had enough! that last pic of him?!LOL! The views from your campsite where absolutely beautiful. :)

  5. When I try and work with Stella, she seems happy at first, but then its work and she just moseys off!


  6. You don't often realize the dangers that surround you when you are so taken with the beauty.

    I am glad R doesnt show interest in the mushrooms, and luckily we don't have many mushrooms in the area Bert and I hike.

    Beautiful camp site and beautiful scenery shots.
    Bert adn My Vickie

  7. You had such gorgeous scenery! I'm glad the Jays weren't affected by the shrooms.

    I love the many faces of R! What a cutie he is!

  8. I always love your pictures! That first one of R is my favourite! I'm sure he is loving every moment that you spend with him. I know how happy dogs get when they learn new things and engage their brains.

  9. Ann..from...Outer Banks of NC...said..In all things of nature...there is something of the marvelous (Aristotle)...I have not seen a gray jay but I have a-lot of blue-jays every morning and they can be quite talkative....but they are so amazing....Training R seems to be going well..and so much fun..."love is a gift we can give everyday" ....your pictures are always so full of expression and so beautiful.....Hugs

  10. I know that R is the young, silly, rather wild boy, but when you're working with him, he looks so serious. He's great! It makes me smile to see the friendship that you're forging. Wishing you lots of fun together. :)

  11. R seems eager to please you; he is such a sweet perceptive boy! Love him for his "R"-ness.

  12. i so know what you mean about having a hyperactive flea, stormy is a little bouncing ball, the only time he stops is when he's sleeping. im not very good at training as i find it hard to thick of what to do to make him do the things i want, but we always do ok when the frizbee comes out :) xxx

  13. What a beautiful mushroom! Thank goodness R has no interest!

  14. Stunning pix and we loved the last one. R looks so happy and loving all the attention. Have a wonderful Wednesday.
    Best wishes Molly

  15. R is so anxious to please you. The training experience is so good for both of you right now.

  16. the training is such a wonderful bonding activity for R...I can just see him anticipating what you want! i had a golden that when i would tell him to sit he's run through his whole arsenal of tricks! (sit, down, roll over.....) too funny!

    such gorgeous views!!!

  17. What a beautiful place you live in...thank you so much for sharing your world!

  18. We all learn so differently - don't we? Some of us are waiting for just the right time, and the right little tip to help us learn. I think that is the way it is for R. He wants to please you, and he is trying so hard. I think Angel K is guiding his to keep trying.
    R is so beautiful!
    We have those kind of Jay's up near our Mt Hood mountain. But just Stellar Jays where I live. But their little clowns - aren't they?
    We have never seen such a mushroom! Oh so glad that R is not interested in them.
    The last pictures glow is reaching out to my heart. Thankyou for sharing the awsomness of Mother Earth.

  19. I never got the hang of that clicker... but I'm not sure who got most frustrated, me or mom!

  20. R is one smart your last pic is made in heaven!
    stella rose

  21. Wow, the last photo is I wrote before, I have to go there. R is great learning dog. Kee p up the work

  22. Beautiful pictures. That mushroom is so pretty, almost fake looking...who knew?

    Would love to see alittle training video....hint, hint...


  23. We're getting in line for those training classes of yours. We sure could use some brushing up on things around here. I only say that because training usually involves treats. Give us treats and the heck with the rest..... We give R alot of credit for learning new things. He's OBVIOUSLY NOT a Doxie.....

    Your pictures are incredible as always, but that flower with the rain ~ totally awesome!!

    Glad you enjoyed our visit yesterday. We'll do it again soon.

    Lily Belle


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