Monday, May 28, 2012

Water Dog!

This weekend we took Marley down to West Point Lake to see my brother's family and my parents. It was also a chance to see if he would be a water dog or not.  If you're not familiar with what a water dog is, it's just a dog that really likes to go in the water; swim, retrieve, jump, leap, etc.  It's a pretty awesome thing.

My old dog, Jimi, was a water dog.  He loved to fetch sticks from a lake. He'd do it as long as he had energy. Our other dog, Janis, was not a water dog.  She wanted to, but she had a very traumatic introduction to water as a puppy.

Living in Athens during college GQ and I had access to many different parks with different lakes.  We took Jimi and Janis to one of these when Janis was still a puppy.  As we were walking along the edge of the lake we saw a guy throwing a ball for his dog out into the lake on a dock.  We walked out onto the dock to watch and to our surprise Jimi took off after the ball and the other dog, leaping off the dock. Janis, being in awe of Jimi also took off.  She didn't really leap off the dock though.  She just fell in head first and sank pretty much immediately.  Luckily the water was really shallow, but the stage was set for Janis' relationship with water.

After that  scary experience she was understandably very wary of water.  From that day on Janis would approach lakes, streams, creeks, etc as a demon that could only be vanquished by biting the hell out of it. 

When Jimi was doing his water thing Janis would lie in wait for him to get to shore then POUNCE on him taking the stick and running triumphantly back to us to throw it again.  This scene would play out until Jimi got tired of getting the stick at which point he'd just go lay in the water while Janis would run back and forth looking for another stick within her reach.

So, it's been a while since we've had a water dog.  Marley definitely fits the bill.

We had to do a little bit of luring to get him in the water, but once he got in he was hooked.  He loves to fetch the ball anyway, so adding this variation to the usual was very exciting for him. Except for one part.

My brother's dog, Bandi, is also a water dog.  

You could even say an extreme water dog and it would not be hyperbolic.  Bandi will LEAP from the dock to retrieve her ball after hearing, "Ready? 1,2,3!"  She'll sit there looking back and forth between the ball and whoever threw it waiting. WAITING!!! If she's really impatient she'll take off once you get to "Ready?"  So poor Marley had to sit there and watch Bandi time and time again get the ball that HE REALLY WANTED

Unfortunately, Bandi wanted it more and was willing and able to go to the length of launching herself to get the ball while Marley would run back and forth on the dock barking his fool head off. So badly he wanted to be able to jump in and get that ball!  He was shaking with excitement and nervous energy. IT'S JUST SOOOO CLOSE, BUT I JUST CAN'T DOOOO IT!!!!! 

It's okay though because it's just his first time, and seriously, when you're competing against a flying dog there's only so much you can do.  By the end of the day we had two balls; one we'd throw out into the lake for Bandi and the other we'd throw close to the shore so Marley could run down the dock ramp to the muddy shore, swim out to the ball, then turn around and bring it back to us.  This worked fine unless we threw Bandi's ball farther than she was willing to go.  Then she'd go after Marley's ball, and poor guy, there wasn't much he could do then. We're looking forward to getting him so more time in and around the water this summer.

The other things we discovered about Marley are that when he's wet he looks REALLY skinny and his hair gets REALLY curly.

If you've never checked to see if your dog is a water dog then I highly recommend it.  The entertainment value of your dog goes up a good bit if it is.  Of course if they're like Janis (poor Janis) then the entertainment value is there too, but for an entirely different reason.