My trainer/friend, Sarah (who is also a well respected animal behaviorist in the bay area, and probably one of the smartest people I've ever met) has been suggesting to me for months to join her on hikes with her dogs to work on Odin's socialization (he has issues with other dogs). I was kind of hesitant for a while, thinking to myself that I didn't have time or that it probably wasn't going to fix the problems we were having. But after Odin sort of lost it on another dog one day, and showed me what this problem was going to turn into if I didn't act fast, I realized that I should probably just suck it up, make time, and dive in. And so I did. We're in the middle of an intensive socialization process through hiking all over these beautiful areas in Marin. Odin has improved tremendously and we can see him learning new social skills every day that we go out. My own handling confidence has improved as well. His herding traits are very strong and deeply ingrained, as evidenced by his manner of play and also how he tries to herd me constantly, and he's an incredibly smart boy, making him quite a challenge in adolescence. But the hiking is helping a lot. And it's a really cool opportunity to see parts of Marin that I haven't explored yet. We hiked through a madrone forest last week, redwoods yesterday (I got stung four times in a row by yellow jackets, but I'm still smiling), perfect chaparral the other day, and grasslands another day. Here are a few pics of some of our adventures.
There is this little mountain lodge near Damir's town where, every year, we eat the very best stew with steamed bread, and strudel. It's my favorite tradition from the past 5 or so years and every time I visit this place, I fall in love with this beautiful part of Slovenia all over again.
The lodge is called Smucarska Koca, the stew we eat is called bograc, the steamed bread – kipjenki, and the blueberry strudel, well, it's the best I've ever had. I really treasure these lunches with the family overlooking the countryside.
On the right there, that is wild mint that our good friend Lena picked on her walk to the lodge. This place is surrounded by fields of wildflowers and forestland, and the details of the lodge itself are charming and thoughtful. It's what my dreams are made of. If I could live in a place like this, I think would be quite happy.
I mentioned that I've been hiking (excessively, almost) with Odin, our trainer and her dogs to speed up his socialization, and also to help socialize her dogs more to an extremely barky and vocal pup.
I've fallen in love with this fluffy butt that I get to stare at for hours and hours on the trails and I love seeing him in these beautiful environments. He loves every second - all the new smells and experiences that stimulate him like nothing else can. I truly think that there is nothing better for him or for his development than getting to be up close and personal with real nature like this.
P.S. in these pictures, you can see he is on a long lead. I keep in him on a 60ft long lead for some of the dogs that we walk with for various reasons, but he does get to run around off leash every hike with his Rottweiler buddy, Leaf. The funny thing is, while he's super confident on the long lead and tries to explore a little bit further from me, as soon as he's off leash, he stays very close. Go figure.
Hey guys! Meet Runar!
He's an icelandic sheepdog puppy from the same breeder as Odin. He's about 9 weeks old, and he's available for adoption! I've gotten so much love from everyone about our Odin Bear, and I just love these puppies to death, so I thought I'd share for anyone in the market or looking for a little icelandic love. But before you go falling in love with that sweet face (and those ears, they kill me), there are some things you should know about icelandic sheepdogs (aka things I've learned from Odin, who may or may not be an extreme example): they BARK (this is not to be underestimated...), they're super smart and require positive training but it's so worth it, they are pretty tough little watchdogs, they are hilarious and like to sleep on the floor with their legs stretched straight out behind them, they are herding dogs to an extreme degree so be prepared to be bossed around, they're the most people-loving dogs I've ever experienced in my life. I would love to adopt another pup, but we're going to wait until Odin is fully trained and can actually help us train a new little one before we take that on.
Anyways, just wanted to share – it's often hard to find these puppies because there are so few of them in the U.S.
Contact Sandi Dunn if you're interested. :)
I have more photos of my trip to Slovenia to share. It was a strange 10 days, in terms of weather (so much rain!), but we managed to experience a few sunny moments that we took full advantage of! Just looking at these photos, I can't help but yearn for the serenity and natural beauty of this part of the world.
This last photo here shows the effects of the strange winter weather that Slovenia experienced. So many broken trees everywhere from all the ice.
A few random snaps from the trip including krompirusa (potato pastry), and Damir with his friend and meet roommate, Robi. I really like seeing these two together...
These photos are from one afternoon when Diana, Ana and I went for a walk with Effie through the forest. It was so pretty and refreshing to be in that environment, and I couldn't help but picture Odin running around with us.
I have one more post to share from my trip about one of my favorite places that I've been to in Slovenia. Stay tuned!