Monday, October 18, 2010

Autumn Hike

The rain all week long meant Niko had to stay indoors except for quick potty breaks. On Saturday when the sun came out, Niko and I took the opportunity and went over to a very beautiful place called The Glen. It is less than 5 minutes away by car.  There are a few trail heads and I chose one that goes along a creek.  The autumn scenery was very nice to take in.  
The creek was running and we had to cross it a few times. It was at most an inch deep, but I tried my best to step across rocks to avoid wet feet. Since it was so secluded, I let Niko off the leash. As I have mentioned in other posts, Niko hates water. This summer he made baby steps by approaching ponds slowly to drink out of them. One other time, I had to drag him on the leash to cross a shallow part of a river with me. 
On this particular hike, Niko showed some courage. Maybe it was because he was off leash and the excitement of discovering the place overshadowed his fear of water. As I carefully stepped on rocks to cross the creek, he trotted over the shallow water like a natural and a bit like a showoff!

We came to a small waterfall and I paused to take some pictures. Niko darted around the wooded area behind me. He would disappear and then I would hear leaves rustling and see the ball of energy charging down the hill. 

After that, we continued walking uphill. Niko marked his territory every chance he got. He must have known my directional skills are horrible when I'm in a place with no street signs or buildings. And since Ed wasn't with us, there was a chance we'd get lost. It reminded me of the story of Hanzel and Gretel when the ingenious kids left crumbs to find their way back. Except, Niko didn't have crumbs. So, he had to keep drinking water.
On the way back, I stopped and found a spot by the same waterfall to take a break. I did some reading and snacking. It was so nice to have the waterfall in the backdrop and to listen to the natural sounds of the water.  To my surprise, Niko went down the hill, drank some water from the bank, and stepped onto what was the top of the waterfall. It sounds dangerous, but he was OK since the water is very shallow and not strong enough to pull him  into the waterfall. He crossed to the other side and went up another trail. I saw him pause to see if i was coming. When he realized I was seated by my tree and not going anywhere, he came back to me. Of course, my gourmet platter of cheese, crackers, and pepperoni  made coming back to me more motivational.
Crossing the top of the falls
It was a good time and Niko loves being off leash.  It was another small milestone in his progress with water.  In his own pace, Niko got his paws wet. It was cool to see him do this. I won't expect him to go swimming on his own anytime soon though.


  1. WOW! I'm so glad that Niko made his steps towards overcoming his fear of water! That was a really smart idea to take him to the woods after a week of being couped up in the house and letting him run free. I agree that he was probably soooo excited that he didn't let the water streams affect him! Funny that you tried to avoid the water, and Niko ran thru it like a pro and a show off! And I'm interested to know what you read while at that scenic view. Good thing you guys were able to walk around aimlessly and still not get lost, Niko is just as smart as Hansel! If I ever come up to visit you, i would love to go on a hike with you guys!

  2. I was reading my Kindle (Matt got it for me as a graduation gift). "Never Let me Go" is the book i'm on at the moment. Yes, when you visit, we'll take you on scenic hikes.

  3. What a beautiful place. Being 5 minutes away from this must be so nice! By the way, have you seen the movie yet?

  4. @nobuko: no i haven't seen the movie. I will after i finish the book. wow, Kaiju is such a handsome shiba!

  5. How is Niko with coming back when you call him? I too have a shiba, who will be 1 yr old in Feb. and she does not come on command (even after training) and can not be trusted off leash because she runs at every chance she gets.

  6. Heather: we have the same problem sometimes. Niko's now a year and a half and we see an improvement as he gets older. We only let him off leash in secluded places away from traffic.

    One trick we use is to turn your body away from him and pretend we are interested in something. Niko senses this and comes to check out what's going on. It helps to have a treat. We ask him to sit, give a treat, repeat and leash him up that way. It's natural to want to call and chase after our shiba, but that only causes to run like it's a game of tag.