Silent Hunting

Costa Rica dog on patio
Spencer has matured and mellowed since he came into our lives three and a half years ago. I feel safe with him tied to my left side while we traverse the trails on the property. Spencer knows where he needs to stop and let me go first and where we can walk side by side. Sometimes he alerts me to animals I might have missed and he always finds the new coyote poop. I never let him get into full on hunting mode because once total hunting instincts have been activated it's very difficult for me to control him. 

Spencer and I have learned how to hike attached to each other and some of his desire to hunt has been transformed into what I call, silent hunting. One of my favorite things to do when hiking and completely immersed in nature, is to just stop for a while and observe. When I first began doing this with Spencer he would look in the direction I was looking to see what it was that caught my attention. He got very focused, intent on seeing what prey might be in my sight.

It didn't take long for Spencer to get the hang of our mellow walks and silent hunting. He even came up with a few places of his own where he stops and observes. He especially likes vistas that are high above and concealed from the trail or river below. There have been several times where Spencer just stops, seemingly for no reason, and looks into the forest. He amazes me by the amount of time he can stop and just listen as he turns his head from side to side filling his senses. I let him do this as long as he pleases which is the same respect he gives to me.

All of this is fine as long as it's just me and Spencer. Roxy listens to me and behaves well on walks through the property therefore, she does not need to be on a leash, she has freedom. She also has the freedom to decide when she wants to walk with us and when she does the dynamics change. Silent hunting is replaced with competition between the two dogs to see who can find something interesting first. I often think Roxy intentionally picks something to smell just to lure Spencer to an area while she sprints away to find something more important. When they both come along I am sure to take a more strenuous walk to burn up their competitive energy. Either way I enjoy walking with just one or both dogs.

The pictures in this post are Spencer surveying the slope behind our house. He does this multiple times a day. The second picture is him in the vetiver plants going after something, most likely a lizard.