I have always seen myself ending up on a mini-farm with somewhere between 4 and 15 acres. I’d love to have a big barn where I can hold training classes, maybe a small number of goats or a few cows, some chickens, a nice field for agility/frisbee, and I’d LOVE a body of water (pond or stream or creek). I somehow doubt that I’ll ever achieve that type of land…but I can dream right?
Yesterday I had the opportunity to play pretend that we lived on a small farm. A friend of the family has 200 acres of farmland not too far from where I live. There are many huge open fields, an apple orchard, some pasture land, some crop fields, and plenty of woods. I got permission to take my dogs up there to let them run, explore, and play…and boy did they! We’ve done lots of wooded hikes and playing in open parks ….but this was so very different. The dogs were running through tall grass, sniffing out the deer, groundhogs, rabbits, and squirrels, finding coyote poop, getting to run and chase small critters they flushed out of the brush, and could run for near 150 yards and still turn around to see me. They got to sniff all around an old stable (that hasn’t held horses for probably 10-15 years but I’m sure still smelled of horse to them).
It was so much fun, we walked all around the land–well I walked, Rio cantered and Shayne mostly trotted (until they decided to chase something). The dogs LOVED it. Rio rolled in three piles of coyote poop, Shayne found and decided to try and eat, the skull of a small mammal (but she dropped it as I yelled “out, out, out!” from 25ft away), we saw a group of deer and both dogs recalled (and the deer took off once the dogs came running toward me), the pups tracked the deer after they were out of sight, and tracked down small mammals hiding under the tall grass (and squirrels up the trees), and chased each other all around the farm. We were out walking for about two hours and Shayne actually flopped down to chew a stick… she was tired… and she’s never tired. Shortly after, Rio flopped on his hip in the shade (and not to roll in poop).
They used so much brain power that they got significantly more tired from this trip–it was beautiful! A normal walk the same distance would leave both of them ready for more… but they’ve been relaxed and chilled out ALL night. It’s such a huge reminder to me about how important mental stimulation is to tiring out a dog… all the sniffing, tracking, exploring totally knocked out my two high energy dogs. It was awesome and something I hope I can continue to do!!