Wednesday, July 29, 2009
During our time on Guam, Yigo and I hit up the beach a lot. Whether we were attending a beach party or just running, we had a grand old time. There was a problem in the beginning though. Yigo was terrified of the water.
The dog was born and raised on an island, yet he was afraid of water. That was not going to work. Not only did I want to be able to throw a tennis ball in the ocean and have Yigo retrieve it, I thought swimming was a necessary survival tool on an island.
At first, he ran away from the water every time a small wave broke. The waves were small because Guam has a coral reef that makes the water very calm inside the reef. So when I say small waves, I mean they were less than a foot high.
I solved this problem by tricking Yigo. I got him to chase me around the beach, then I made a break for the water and he followed. Once Yigo got a few steps in, he realized where he was and instead of turning around and sprinting out of the ocean, he slowly backed out. It was like he did not want to turn his back on this giant, sneaky and wet thing.
The next attempt was me picking Yigo up and carrying him to where he could not stand. I stayed to grab him if he struggled, so do not think I am cruel. The result was not pretty. Instead of keeping his front paws under the water, which is how every dog I know swims, Yigo's front paws were splashing around crazy. He eventually made it to shore, but he was not going back in.
The lessons paid off though. A week later, Yigo was happy to jump in the water. He swam better, but he never went out to deeper water by choice. His biggest problem was he always tried to touch the bottom with his back paws, leading to a very unbalanced dog. But he no longer feared the water, so I count it as a win.
Now a new problem arose. Yigo wanted to lie down in the water. I should not have to tell you this did not work. He tried to lie down, realized his head would go under water if he did, so he went back to the sitting position. But Yigo is stubborn. A few seconds later, he would try to lie down again.
Yigo might not be Michael Phelps, but he also does not smoke pot.
Night Swimming - REM