Sunday, January 22, 2012

Retrieve, Retrieve, and Retrieve Some More (lots of pictures)

Ebon always gets this expectant face when I have a ball in my hand. Here his eyes look downright yellow! The darkness you see in the water is most algae with just a touch of silt.
As I may or may not have mentioned before on this blog, my retriever retrieves all of the time. However, he hasn't actually been water retrieving since he was a puppy. Today, that changed! I took him back to the ditch and pond out by my campus and we had a little off leash fun. The best part: I brought a tennis ball, so we spent quite some time running up and down the ditch, with me throwing the ball and having Ebon bring it back. The way it would rebound of the sides of the ditch made it much more of a challenge. Then, we went down to the pond and I sent him out to go retrieve the ball from the water. I only took the first two pictures you'll see here, with the rest having been taken by my significant other, who stayed on the rim of the ditch while I ran around with the dog. I wanted to make sure I didn't ruin my camera from all of the drool and water!

More expectant face.
There it is!
See the ball? He actually walked right past it this time. It was one of the few times I found it first. I have my favorite leash slung over my shoulder here, which is where it stayed during most of the trip.
Bringing it back. I'm still amazed at how easily he climbs the banks.
Now, on to the pond! After the first thirty minutes or so we moved on to the pond, at which point I removed his vest so it wouldn't get soaked.

More expectant face. This was taken after he had already been in the water.
Even more expectant face. It's funny how a wet face makes him look younger.
Just a short distance to begin, close enough his feet still hit bottom.
Further out to make him really swim for it.
Happy dog, bringing back his tennis ball prize.
By the end, we were both completely soaked. It seemed Ebon deposited as much water on me as was on him after he shook off. One convenient command I taught him some time ago which came in handy here is actually "Shake Off." That's right, my dog dries himself on command.
The ball I used is actually one of the Kong Squeakair balls, which no longer squeaks. Those balls are Ebon's most favorite toy ever, combining his two loves: tennis balls and squeaky toys. Unfortunately, his teeth are so big that, with time, he eventually grabs it just right and one of his canines punches the squeaker in. After that, it only produces a feeble hisss...pop! sound when he bites at it and rattles if you shake it (thanks to the squeaker mechanism inside). At that point, I just treat the thing as a regular old tennis ball. One advantage, though: it's easier to get water out of it when it gets water logged.

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