I’m happy to report that our puppy, Nala, is now Brazos River tested and qualified. I was actually surprised how well she did…with a few exceptions. I had to keep her on a leash the entire time as she still has a bit of a rebellious streak in her. I take responsibility for that, mind you and know I’ve got to be harder on her.
The other issue was her obsession with something across the river, whether living or dead I’m not sure, but it had her attention from the minute we got there until the minute we left.
The 18-month old rott/shepherd mix has always been scared of deep water, whether a swimming pool or lake, and normally you couldn’t get Nala to jump in even if she were on fire, but the minute we got to the river she wanted nothing more than to bolt across it to God knows what was beckoning her from beyond the reeds. Having raised the pup in the relative safety of Fort Worth suburbia, I wasn’t about to let her go barking wildly into a potential den of mating water moccasins or, worse, a skunk. We decided to spend a few minutes walking her up and down the river first to calm her down, and it seemed to work.
Then we carefully loaded her into a canoe and used her leash to lash her down. We started paddling upriver and she remained calm; I didn’t wanna get too far from the put in just in case Nala went crazy on us, but after a bit she seemed to settle down. She laid on the canoe’s floor and relaxed as I paddled upriver.
After a few minutes of this, while in a couple of feet of water, the leash slackened and Nala jumped overboard. She began pulling us upriver, against the current, and when the gravel bar disappeared from beneath her feet, Nala dog-paddled…and she kept pulling us. It didn’t take long, though, for her hyper-drive energy to slip into second gear and she eventually tired out. She turned us around and started towing us back to the put in.
It turned out to be a good first day on the river for Nala, and she survived to float (and pull) another day. I will have to figure out a better way to lash her down, and I definitely need to work on her obedience skills. My goal is to groom her into a respectable fishing partner by next summer, which means there’s still a lot of work to do. Knowing Nala, it won’t be easy, but nothing good ever is.
Lone Star Chronicles – Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Fish