Monday, March 19, 2012

Swimming!! In March?

When you have record high temperatures several days in a row in Wisconsin, what do you do? You go swimming! In March! Sweet.

I love swimming the dogs. It's great exercise for them, it's low impact, it wears them out and we all have loads of fun! Honestly, in the summer I think I'd swim them every single day if we didn't have to work in that pesky training stuff. :o)

Secret has gone and jumped in the creek on our walk in the middle of winter, but I don't think we've ever had a true opportunity to SWIM so early in the year. It was 78 degrees when we went home from work on Friday and the day just begged for a trip to the river. I thought that surely we'd have it all to ourselves -- school wasn't out yet for the day and come on, it's March -- you can't tell me people are going to go swimming in March? That water is still pretty cold.

Well, the public was out in full force enjoying the beautiful day alongside us. The park where we go for our water access was fairly busy (for this park, at least) --- So I drove straight to the trail access and parked there. A small group of guys was leaving as we arrived, so I waited for them to drive away before I let the maniacs out of the car. Seriously, it's embarrassing how they all scream as soon as we pull into the drive.

With them driving away, I hoped we'd have the little beach to ourselves. We encountered one more person on the trail (who Secret barked at because I couldn't get the brat to come to me on time). Then as we rounded the bend to our swimming spot I saw a small group of people standing on the shoreline -- including a couple of small kids. Yay..... Secret does not have a history of doing so well around kids.

Well happy day, she was so excited about swimming that she completely ignored them all. I really hovered over her on her first several retrieves, but she didn't make any bug eyes at the group or give any other indication that they stressed her. The kids were shrieking and screaming quite a bit (hello, the water was COLD and they were swimming in it... I'd scream, too!) and it didn't seem to bother her at all. Score one for toy drive.

Saturday was even warmer than the day before! When I got home from working at the shelter it was still 82 degrees. I loaded the crew into the car and head out for day two of swimming. This time we did have the beach to ourselves for the first bit, then a group of teenagers came wandering down to do stupid things (ie: take a boat over those tiny little "rapids" in the first photo). The boys were the ones doing "brave manly things" in the water while the group of girls stood around and behaved as awkwardly as most teenagers do when they unexpectedly run into an adult and have to share space with someone they don't know. We just kept chucking toys into the water.

I thought Secret might lose it when the boat went by, but again thanks to the mighty power of the Wubba, she didn't even blink an eye. I don't think she's ever seen a boat in the water before, so I'm glad she didn't flip her lid or anything. She handled the passel of girls until one of them reached towards her as we were leaving, then she barked at them. Well, there you go -- Don't reach towards strange dogs, girls.

We destroyed another Wubba over the two days. Those things just can't stand up to Secret. :o( We have the carcass of another one that will probably make it one more trip, but after that we're toast. I might have to take the bumper and see if she'll fetch that in the water. It seems a bit more hardy -- not so susceptible to the tearing she likes to do when she brings it to shore. We have an endless supply of tennis balls, but Secret doesn't seem to show any interest in fetching those in the water.

Missy did great with her first water experience! She wasn't so sure when we first got there on Friday. She whined a bit and ran back and forth on the shoreline. I missed it, but at some point she must have fallen in or something because the next time I saw her she was soaked from head to toe. lol After that she had fun splashing and running around in the shallow water. She especially liked to try to "attack" Luke as he came back with his ball. Luke gets really upset when Rascal does this to him so I made sure it didn't get out of hand, but overall he didn't seem terribly bothered by Missy's behavior. Secret, however, was not going to put up with it and just wanted the puppy out of her way. Missy figured it out and stuck to jumping on Luke.

On Saturday Missy found her sea legs! While bouncing around after Luke she found herself in deeper water than she expected. She seemed surprised at first, but then she started to go on a little swim-about all on her own! She swam several more times that day. At one point I just had to laugh when I realized she was swimming in a circle trying to get her tail.... Oh Missy.

The potential adopter that is hopefully going to meet her this week lives by a lake, I guess --- So I figured it might up her "value" if we could say she likes water & swimming. I think it was a hit!

I didn't get home until close to 7:00 last night, so I passed on swimming three days in a row (even though it was still 78 degrees!). This weather doesn't show signs of stopping any time soon, so we may have plenty more opportunity to head over that way. Or, of course, I suppose we could practice some agility. I'm starting to think it may be time to get the contacts out!


  1. How fun! Legend LOVES the water-if there is a creek near a trial site she always sniffs it out for me to bring her there.

  2. We used to have one trial site by the river --- but a couple of years ago a massive flood completely wiped out the entire town. :o( The club moved their trials to a different location which is pretty nice, but lacking the easy water access. We always loved that trial because the dogs loved to run down and go for a quick swim!

    I've always said that Secret has gills. She took to the water immediately and unlike Luke (who only goes swimming to fetch something), she will just go on a random swim for the fun of it. :o) Seems many/most border collies are very similar!