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June 12, 2019: Moreover, the Dog

I once read that someone named their dog Moreover. When asked why, they said this was a biblical name. Seeing the puzzled look on the questioners face, he said “You know, it says in bible, ‘Moreover, the dog.’”

My good friend and biographer, Christopher Benson responded to my group dispatch by saying he wanted to hear more about the dog. So be it, Christopher.

Ryder rides in the literal back seat of our Ford 350. She has a little den there – on one side is the door, on the other my clothes bin and right now, our friend Heather’s saddle. She also tends at times to take a figurative back seat to the horses, which is unfortunate because she is an amazing dog. When, a few years back, I attended the Karen Pryor clicker training clinic, Alexandra Kurland, who is a horse clicker trainer, remarked that horse people seldom have well trained dogs. This is because we are putting so much energy into working with our equine friends, we don’t have time for our dogs.

I have had to take the proverbial bull by the horns. Pete is a fix it guy who goes for immediate results. Dog training does not involve fixing them, and progress on the training front, if done right, is quite slow. The light bulbs in a dog’s head don’t immediately go on, rather they go on slowly.

Ryder tied to trailer in camp

Ryder, being a border collie, was born with the stalk and chase mechanism. This is what she most enjoys doing. She will kill, but this is not in her DNA. Hope springs eternal in a border collie’s mind. There is no distracting her once she zones in on a moving animal or object. She’s bred to hone in on wool, but she will go after feathers or fur. Fish scales, they are also a big hit, though she hates water. Big game, she knows little about this. She really enjoyed her stint learning to herd sheep, but she was so focused that she failed to hear commands. She also has a predilection for rubber, that which is on tires. This, we are attempting to discourage.

To this end, Pete made her a rope leadline. I now pony her when we are in sight of roads. I also am constantly working with her on recall when she’s off leash. When she comes, she gets rewarded – right now I’m using salmon jerky treats. Liver treats, these work well too.

I tried tying a ditty bag with treats to my saddle yesterday. The drawstring opening was a pain in the ass. So today I put treats in my windbreaker pouch. This worked better; however, this is a temporary measure because I won’t be able to wear the dang thing when it gets hot. So, it looks like I’m going to resort to carrying treats in my water bottle holder.

It’s been doing my heart great joy to watch Ryder bound across fields, in search of prairie dogs and dead things to roll in. And this seems also be doing her great joy. Ryder also has a smidgeon of loyalty. She stayed with me today as I stayed with the horses and Pete went off in search of Hrimmi’s lost foot ware. (He found it in a bog.) All the while she gnawed on what I think was an old cow bone. I sat next to her and gnawed on dehydrated fruit.

We had a challenging ride today, rode to a place called Death Crotch. Ryder greeted the dozen or so mountain bicyclists who stopped to talk with us, and chased the half dozen or so who did not stop.

Yes, Christopher’s request was a reminder that this is also Ryder’s trip and that I need to keep this in mind when writing up these dispatches.

Next: 162. 6/13/19: Storm Rolling In

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