by: Kennedy Garcia
WR Howie (Indian X Dixel) was whelped on March 6, 2015, and spent 4 months with Danielle Drewrey for obedience and Adventure Dog training. By the way, Howie smiles! Even Danielle’s husband loves his smile!
Kennedy Garcia relates the adventures with Howie in three installments, several months apart:
Installment 1: My husband, Martin, and I are very active and have always had dogs. We were looking for a dog that could join us in boating, hiking, snowshoeing, water/beach activities, some bird hunting. Because we also have 3 grandchildren, ages 2 and under, we wanted a dog that would be gentle and tolerant and that grew up with them too—all being babies together! We wanted a dog that would also be a great companion in our home as well as office too sometimes.
Howie is an exceptional dog, and while he still has progress to make in obedience, he is everything we could want and more.
A typical lab, he is a “pleaser” but also he is also very bold and determined in his activities. He absolutely loves the water—swimming and retrieving. Howie will dive completely underwater to retrieve something and can be relentless until he gets it. But he will also ride with us in the boat calmly all day long.
We also spend a lot of time in Colorado, which Howie LOVES. We snowshoe in the winter and hike in the summer. He is getting better at obeying my commands (ie., off trail, wait, here, heel).
Most important of all, he loves everybody, is sweet, gentle with our grandkids, pretty well behaved in the house. We have loved having him!! He is truly our “Howie, the Adventure Dog”!!!
Installment 2: The adventure workshop was very helpful for us in training Howie. For example, we regularly use three commands that we took away from the workshop. The first, is “off trail,” moving the dog out of the trail path and to the side. This is such an important command in hiking as we encounter many trail bikers that are moving quite fast and the trails are often narrow. We want your dog out of the way and not chasing the biker. It is also an important command just walking in our neighborhood when we encounter cars coming as well as other people walking their dogs. We do not want Howie running to check out the oncoming dog and people. We loved getting to spend time with other owners/handlers and their dogs. We could share tips, information, experiences. We could observe others interact with their dogs. We loved seeing other Wildrose dogs and how they mature both in looks and behavior. That was a wonderful part of the whole weekend!!!
Second, we continue to work with Howie on staying by our side while hiking. We do let him explore a bit within sight, but always want him to return on the “Howie, Come” command or if he is ahead of us “Howie, Wait.”
Third, another useful command we learned was “leave it.” We often encounter miscellaneous dead critters that smell really good and typically attract Howie’s attention. This can be a nuisance and even risky at times. We continue to work on consistency with all of these commands, but are making great progress.
Installment 3: Howie is maturing into a wonderful companion/adventure dog. My grand babies are now 2 1/2 and he is getting better with them all the time. He listens when we tell him “enough” and doesn’t get as excited, although he finds them quite delicious. They provide great licking opportunities for him with great smells from head to toes.
We had a wonderful summer hiking with Howie in Colorado. He knows when we are getting ready and he is waiting at the door to join us on our journey for the day. Whether we are in a group or just it’s Martin and me, he listens better and better to our commands for wait, here, off trail (for the many bikers). We often let him run ahead until he is just out of sight and then command to wait or come. Either way he obeys the command. He LOVES the running.
We find lakes where we fetch with him. We have one special hike that we often do with him that leads to a lake that we hike around. He knows that we do not fetch until we get all the back around so, as we get close to that point we let him run ahead only to find him sitting by the lake waiting for us to find just the right stick to throw in the lake.
I am also in a weekly hiking group with some women. Many bring their dogs as well. It can get a little crazy with all the dogs, but Howie does pretty well. I am still working on not having to leash him as times to get him to obey my commands despite what the other dogs are doing. We often stop for lunch/snack and Howie is great about sitting next to me and not begging or trying to eat other peoples’ food.
We also have a favorite quaint beach town we frequent here in Florida on the weekends. Many times Martin will drive down in the boat with just Howie (taking about 2 1/2 hours). Martin sits in one captain seat and Howie sits in the other one for the entire time—never getting out of his seat until they dock. As you can imagine, Howie LOVES the beach. We enjoy great walks, fetching in the water all the way. We still have to be careful about his drinking the salt water sometimes when he fetches. He is getting much better about that. One of Martin’s favorite things to do with Howie is take him every AM in the golf cart to the bakery in town to get coffee. Howie stays in the cart unleashed while Martin goes in to get his coffee (Howie can see him the whole time). Then Martin sits at a table outside near the cart and reads, and catches up on email. All the while Howie stays sitting in the cart. Everyone (young and old) walking by stops to greet and pet Howie. Never does he jump out, bark, whine, or follow anyone. He just loves being there!
We are planning to take Howie back to Colorado for spring skiing. Howie will get in lots of hiking while we snow shoe. He LOVES the snow!!!
Howie really is just a great companion dog for Martin and me. Whatever we are doing, he is all in, whether active or just relaxing. We love our Howie dog!!!
Motor boating is probably one of Howie’s strongest areas. He has great manners and respect for the boat. He waits patiently for his command to load and unload. He goes to his spot on the boat and for the most part stays there for the entire outing.