Ray at the lakeside!

This is Ray chilling out, and posing, at our nearby park on the lake.

2015 09 20 CM09He loves it down there because not only is there grass to roll around on, but there is water to play in. Then there is a lot of natural vegetation areas which, based on Ray’s behavior, must be hiding so many interesting scents. Finally, there are many large shrubs and trees all of which seem to be homes for numerous birds, squirrels and other creatures.

It is in areas like this that I so wish we could let him off his leash so he could roam but, unfortunately, his recall is inversely proportional to his focusing ability! i.e. the more he focuses on something, the less he hears from us. Show him a cat and you can call all the food related sounds that he knows, but he will not respond to any of them!

The thought of letting him roam into the lake is attractive … but can he swim? If he got himself into deep water, would he instinctively doggy paddle himself out of trouble? We are pretty sure that he would but what guarantees does “pretty sure” offer?

We occasionally meet off-leash dogs down there, and Ray often wants to play. It would be so nice to unclip his leash and let him but, what if the other dog annoys him? Ray can turn really nasty given the antics of another dog, or he may simply try and dominate the other dog which may not be received too well!

Such are the trials of living with a rescued dog whose background is unknown; who was abandoned; untrained; had no social skills; was afraid of humans and other dogs.

Despite all these things that we would dearly love to do for Ray, but cannot, he doesn’t complain too often. He seems very happy with his new home and family and when he comes up for a cuddle, or to just touch noses, or offer a “doggy kiss” ………… we would do it all again!

I look at other dogs who appear to have had a very secure, stable and loving upbringing. They may not present any of the challenges that we have faced (and still face) with Ray, but I wouldn’t change this “guy” for the world. He is one very special dog!

27 thoughts on “Ray at the lakeside!

    • He’s been 2-1/2 years of work, but he really is an amazing dog. Our local Humane Society (where he came from) are so thrilled with the way that he has responded to stability, TLC, and constant training. 🙂

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  1. Again, parallel universes with Ray and Kali. I have all the same concerns, reluctance to let Kali off leash even in safe situations. And then I also so wish I could let her roam freely and follow her nose and curiosity unhindered and feathered by a leash. In preparation for leaving Kali for several days while we are out of town for the holidays we took Kali to meet the dog she will be staying with. The meet and greet went very well and after about 10 minutes Kali relaxed and was co-existing nicely with the other dog, a one year old golden lab slightly larger than Kali. My friend – the owner of the lab – and Holly and I walked to the park that my friend frequents with her lab. She let’s her lab off leash there and throws the ball for him. It was relatively safe and Kali seemed very comfortable and calm so I let go of the leash (but left it attached to her collar so she knew it was there) and she romped and chased the lab a bit but never got too far away from me. Now, as you say, had a squirrel or cat come around would she listen to me and “come” or “stay”. I’m not sure. BUT it was avery liberating experience for both Kali and I.

    My point is don’t lose hope, keep doing what you’re doing, and look for opportunities to give ray a little more leaway and to take some calculated risks. Like you say, these are rescues and we don’t know what the full history is and what to expect. But what we can expect is that if we make a mistake here and there they will still love us.

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    • Hi Michael: I appreciate your comments (as always) however, if we make a mistake it could be disastrous. A child could run out and try and hug him. An aggressive dog could get involved with Ray with terrible results for probably both dogs. Every time I “calculate a risk”, I come up with 99% certain it would be ok. The problem though is I do not feel that I have the right to take that 1% risk at someone else’s expense.


      • Yeah, I totally get that 1% thing. 0% is better and why take risks. With Kali she has never been aggressive towards people and I’m learning that with dogs she is just vocal – again not aggressive. However, I am still and will always be, very conservative about taking any undue risks. Take care and give Ray a figurative sniff from Kali…

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  2. Awww, I wouldn’t change Ray either:) He sounds amazing! I also experience the same in terms of letting my dogs off leash. One of them because of her attention problem, too, and the other one because she can get defensive if she feels threatened by another doggie and we don’t want to risk anything. Nonetheless, they are happy and secure on their leash with the people who love them the most!

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    • Hi Daisy. We’re not silly at all! We just have a very strong prey drive, and an ability to focus at a level that you humans can only dream about! We’re designed to do a job ……… and we’re good at it! Nose touch for Hunter. Woof! Ray. 🙂

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    • Hi Di. The “legs crossed” is very typical of Ray. As for paddling? Yes he loves paddling, biting waves and grabbing sticks but when the water touches his tummy, he is clearly uncomfortable.


      • My GSD was the same. However, Maggie loves to swim in the sea, and we are surprised she’s made no effort to jump in the marina here, (even though she has gone in another river with Buddy). I think we’re both relieved she hasn’t though!

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    • Given you “guys” working with rescue dogs (and a managerie of other creatures), I have no doubt that you can relate to a lot of my stories about Ray. Not only would you understand the many, and ongoing, challenges …. but you will also understand my emotions with various events. Keep up the good work Samantha. Regards. Colin.

      ps. Hi Noodle Schmoodle buddy! Woof! Ray. 🙂

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  3. Just wondering if you have ever tried a leader leash, like they use on horses. Some one recommended this to me, but I haven’t tried it. It would give Ray more distance to look under those bushes. In terms of letting him off leash in the water, I did this one time with a rescue dog, that was a little reactive. He was far out in the lake, and saw a little poodle on shore. He was able to quickly swim around me, and attack the poodle, and hold it in his mouth. Luckily the other dog lived, but I had a large vet bill to pay. My expensive lesson learned.

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    • We do have a “long leash” but will only use it under perfect conditions. The problem is that (apart from a 6ft leash By-Law!), if Ray takes off, his acceleration is rather impressive. Imagine him taking off and not being controlled until 15ft (e.g.) of leash had run out! Not only could he hurt himself, but could potentially dislocate a human limb!!!! Finally, while our lake bed is mostly small flat stones, there are isolated large rocks under water. If Ray got himself into trouble, we may not be able to pull him back without snagging a rock. It is a very difficult situation with all things being considered.


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