“A Loose Schipperke is a Gone Schipperke”

Just don’t tell that to my Schipperke.

ImageI’ve heard a few people say Schipperkes aren’t a breed that can run off leash. I used to say Suki wasn’t good off leash, even though my Encyclopedia of the Dog says otherwise about the breed, then one day I decided to give her a chance and she proved me wrong. I’m still hesitant in unfamiliar surroundings, she’s far from being a Golden Retriever, but she’s actually pretty good. Of course now that I’ve said that she’ll probably bolt at full speed the next time I unclip her leash.

On Sunday I checked off leash hiking in unfamiliar surroundings off the list. I was invited on a day trip into Vancouver to hike Mount Seymour’s Lynn headwaters.

Initially I was hesitant to unclip her, which is why there’s a leash in this first photo.

ImageBut as you can see she’s also wearing her Ruff Wear Quick Draw leash around her neck, so clearly I must have been plotting an off leash hike somewhere in my subconscious right from the start. After the first section of the hike her regular leash was stowed away in my pack and Suki was free to run where she wanted. I’d never describe her as being a Velcro dog, but she checked in with me periodically throughout the hike and (for the most part) came when I called her.

ImageAt one point she tore off through the underbrush to the river, down a very steep and narrow side trail. Just when I was sure I was going to need to climb down after her she came running back, successfully maintaining her ability to remain off leash.

ImageSuki loves climbing, so she had a blast on the boulders in the river.

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My camera is a bit slow, and I always just miss every jump she makes. One of these days I’ll catch her in midair.

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At one point on the trail there’s an old frame from some sort of wheeled contraption. I’m not sure what it is exactly, but I couldn’t resist getting Suki to hop on a wheel for a photo. She thought balancing on the wheel was a lot of fun.

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By the end of the hike Suki’s harness had turned from grey to a dusty brown colour and her legs and belly were spackled with dried mud.

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When we got back to the car she was ready for a nap and passed out in my lap. For a few minutes anyway. As soon as we got in the house she grabbed a toy and ran loops around the living room squeaking it nonstop.

The next morning she greeted me with an exuberant chest bump to the throat as I tried to sit up, knocking me back down, then licked by ear while I struggled to shove her off in my groggy state. I don’t think she’ll ever stay tired for any reasonable length of time. Not that I’m complaining.

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