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rough collie, lassie collie

Golden Gate Park ... Page 2

Millie goes swimming in Stowe Lake
"Hey Tyler!" Millie asked "Will you keep an eye out for me while I check out this water?"  Tyler smiled and looked at Verne who simply nodded. 
Millie was about to do what Collie had done before her on her first visit to Stowe Lake. (See wet Collie at right)

Millie was going to go in the lake!
rough collie, lassie collie in Stowe Lake
rough collie, lassie type collie wet from swimming
rough collie, lassie collie wet from swimming 
(below)
All three dogs conferenced
when they encountered strange scents from animals unfamiliar to them.
Nothing back home in the Central Valley smelled like that!
rough collie, lassie collie, and german shepherd 
(below) Millie thought Golden Gate Park was the most wonderful place she had ever visited.
Rough Collie, Millie, is a Lassie type collie, German Shepher service dog, Golden Gate Park
Rough Collie, Millie, is a Lassie type collie, German Shepher service dog, Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park Adventure
Millie had to stay on the flexi -lead until she calmed down. Then all three dogs were off leash until we reached our car after dark...a long adventure because the mobility scooter batteries ran down.

Tyler would not pull when I commanded "Pull! pull, pull, pull!" I started to panic. I don't own a cell phone so asked someone to call a cab. Nice couple from New Zealand at Lloyd Lake.

They put the call on speaker phone and the cab company's hold message was about installing the "booking ap" for cabs. I made jokes about that. After a long wait the dispatcher came on. When we asked for a cab to Lloyd Lake he hung up. So much for the theory about having a cell phone for an emergency...

The sun went down
We were miles from the car without our LED headlights (regular night gear) because I'd never planned on being stuck in the Park at night. Millie and Collie darted in and out of the trails homeless people use to get to their hidden camps. Twice I had to pee in the bushes. With the sun already set, no LED lights, miles from our car, no cell phone, and all alone...I was panicing.

I pleaded with Tyler to pull
Finally I said "Please." When I felt him pulling I praised "YES! Good boy!" and that was the key.

My mistake was to repeat "Pull" just like when a frustrated dog owner yells "SIT! sit sit sit sit SIT!!!" Dogs need a simple word spoken in a consistent manner followed by praise when the command is fulfilled.
Rough Collie, Millie, is a Lassie type collie, German Shepher service dog, Golden Gate Park
Learning how to get Tyler to pull like a sled dog
At first I screwed it up by yelling the command over and over Tyler thought he wasn't doing what I wanted.  He got confused. Imagine if you commanded "Here!" repeatedly but the dog was already there right in front of you; he had already done what you wanted but you kept yeliing the command instead of praising.

Tyler doesn't understand English; but he understands when I'm happy. So when he put his powerful body into the task (I could feel him pulling) I became super happy praising "Yes! Good boy!" which made him happy, too. That was all it took to give him the feedback to doing what I wanted. If you understand dogs then you appreciate that they just want to know what you want and will do it to make you happy.

Tyler kept a steady pull that tired my arm because I was holding his harness handle while he applied enough force to keep the scooter moving. The strain on my arm began to hurt so I braced the inside of the elbow behind my left knee.
Tyler's sled dog power kept the voltmeter needle in the yellow zone as long as I praised him. We kept moving at about 2 MPH, but if I tried to go faster the needle dropped into the red causing the circuit to disconnect power from the load of the motor. On and on we crawled slowly in the dark while I held on to my powerful 4-wheel drive German Shepherd.
Rough Collie, Millie, is a Lassie type collie, German Shepher service dog, Golden Gate Park
The collie sisters ran a perimeter about us investigating everything they encountered. In the dark I couldn't see them but a quick whistle signal brought them trotting over to show they were still with the pack.

Finally we reached the car parked in front of the Arboretum
The dogs thought it had all just been a wonderful, fun day. Driving home they lay on the floor as if dead. Collie snuggled up to Tyler, front legs crossed over each other's, heads touching as they slept. Millie's head lay like a dish rag where I could give her a pet once in a while. I was proud of her.

At home the sheep were bleating for their hay, the livestock guardian wanted her dinner, the rabbits waiting for alfalfa...eggs to collect...and then to bed.

More adventures yet to come... 
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