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brembo 01-29-2014 08:40 PM

They do play rough huh?
I was out in my backyard for a good long while today, 8 degrees with a torch in my hand thawing out my well-head. Good snow covering, plenty of sunshine. Felt amazing really, was warm due to black clothing. Dogs were running around, sniffing my equipment, just enjoying their black coats and nippy ambient air.

Something set them off, dunno what but they began to play. Hard play, head down full pumping runs back and forth, much growling and chatter.Then the jumping and chest bashing and chase/roll/wrestle. Went on for a long time while I kneeled down with a torch. Killed me to sit there and watch them go berserk and not join in, but having water kinda trumps frolicking in the snow.

What I noticed:

Cable(3-ish y/o male) was toying with Allie(female, almost a year now). Allie has him on cut and run for a few strides, but Cable is a PREDATOR. He's an adult and his mind is lightening fast, he anticipated and tracked, setting the poor girl up for some massive rolls. He's lean and cut and has explosive acceleration linearly. He can't switch direction quite like Allie can and has nothing like her ability to jump. If Allie kept the speeds down, she could dance around him and avoid the turf, the second she vectored Cable was on her with the quickness. Cable's closure angles were spot on, I also noticed he has a penchant for using obstacles(trees, bushes) to narrow the preys choices of escape. Wolves must be eerie to watch with their undiluted predator skills.

I was getting a bit worried that Cable was going to click over into real predator mode, Allie was being such a good little prey item. However the tables turned and Allie became the hunter. I didn't catch the que, or see anything that established her as the chaser. Yet, she started chasing and Cable duly ran from her. That game was a lot more chasing and way less contact, Cable stuck to his strong points of muscling the speed and minimizing the turns, Allie misjudged the intercept angles just enough for him to slide by(or she was intentionally blowing the skin/skin vector). But OH MY WORD can that girl jump. Seemingly effortless 4+ foot vertical(bottom of outstretched feet) leaps, compact landings wherein she angled off at acute angles. In tight she is well nigh uncatchable. Her moves reminded me of my Mal. If Allie stays small(she is mid 40s now) she might be a candidate for agility, she sure has the aptitude for it.

I was out there for a couple of hours. Once I had thawed the well-head I began running conduit for a heat lamp and new well cover. I was busy, staying moving so I didn't get cold. The dogs wanted to play and play and play and play. Sunny and single digits makes GSDs frisky beyond belief. I didn't want to get my hands wet with snow as I was handling a butane torch for connection, so fetch was out. So I began kicking snow at them. Great game. They began bombing runs on me, wide angle swooping attacks. If I timed it right they would get a snoot full of snow, take a fall and roll around in the snow. They made up the game. It had rules. These dogs amaze me.

In the time I was out there, possibly 1.5 to two hours the mutts were moving around in a high-cardio state for at least 50% of the time. My work took longer as I was splitting my concentration between the dogs and work. I was sorta sad when the work was done, as it meant bedtime for me but I wanted to stay out there in the bitter cold and watch my dogs just be dogs. Unfettered and no stress, just reveling in the great play weather. So I sat down(gore-tex pants for the win) and watched for awhile. When the dogs saw me just sitting there they came over, gave me hello nose bumps and curled up next to me. I'm not an overly emotional person by any stretch, but it almost made tears come to my eyes. Sitting in the snow in single digit weather wishing it could be like that all the time and it was because of two dogs. Says something eh?

Susan_GSD_mom 01-29-2014 09:01 PM

I loved this post--being undoubtedly much older than you, my stamina outside in single digit weather with 20 mph winds is way, way less then yours, less than mine used to be... But for 20-30 minutes, I experienced much the same emotions, watching the two of mine run all out, just to run, such beauty, then a growl here and there, then taking off like a pair of horses in tandem until Jade cuts through the center of the field to gain the lead, him putting on a burst of speed to catch up with her... Then I began to worry about their lungs (and mine) and we went inside. Watching them was a gift, but I have spent too many Michigan winters keeping water troughs open for horses, hauling feed through snow, working young horses in an indoor arena that seemed colder than it was outside, trying to cool off and dry a steaming horse after a winter workout...have too many old injuries, hands too stiff in this weather... Sorry, but I am SO looking forward to spring! It's supposed to go up to 27 f tomorrow, and I can hardly wait!

brembo 01-29-2014 10:16 PM

Oh, I'm no spring chicken. I loathe cold weather, I'd rather have my shoes off with my feet dangling in the water with a fishing pole in hand. It's just I was so enthralled by the mutts being mutts the weather conditions just took a back seat. Cold does things to my joints and prevents me from doing my favorite things(fishing, riding enduro motocross, shooting sports) in complete comfort. Gimmie mid 50s in the mornings and evenings and mid 70s during the day and I'm happy as a lark.

readaboutdogs 01-29-2014 10:37 PM

Great story! The gsds I had loved those crisp cold days too! That's one of the things I loved about having 2, their play and running together just enjoying life the shepherd way!

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