Friday, August 13, 2010

The Siberian Retriever

So, Daemon has always been a bit "off" as far as Siberian Huskies go. You see, Huskies as a rule do not fetch, retrieve, or recall (come when called) on demand; no husky is safe off leash EVER. This is just the way of having a working dog that RUNS for a living, and one I am totally comfortable with after 20 years of Siberians.

My first husky, Lakota was reliable off leash as long as we were in the front yard. He would sit on the front porch and wait for me to come home from school. However, if Lake realized that for some reason he had left the front yard - usually after chasing a bicycle - well, then he was gone for days at a time. Deep down Lake was a typical prey driven, wandering husky. And I learned a lot from him.

Windy, my current female - has the record for "most consecutive days escaped" - something like 270 days in a row and has rarely been allowed off leash in a public place, unless controlled by her "good girl" electric collar - a tool I would not have considered using on a dog for any reason until Windy exhausted my rather extensive training knowledge - and I learned how to use it positively so that Windy actually LIKES her e-collar. Windy loves squeaky toys and loves to rip any toy or small animal that ventures into the yard to shreds. Windy is the quintessential hard-headed hard-to-train Siberian Husky. And She would NEVER deign to fetch a toy! The upside to having a dog this difficult to contain is my yard is now Fort Knox and I can take in fosters with some of the worst escape or prey habits and can retrain them.

So, back to Daemon being "off" - when he came to us his name was Buddy and if I had waited to get to know him a little more before we redubbed him D - I would have noticed how fitting Buddy was for him. Daemon...well...He's what we call a "siberian retriever" - he's never far from Brad or I (he truly is a "buddy"), has a reliable off leash recall, he is instantly obedient and plays fetch endlessly. He comes out to the front yard with us when we are visiting neighbors. If I had had him as a first sibe, after a childhood full of Labradors,  I would have expected all sibes to be as easy to train as he is. I can't even imagine- or explain - the disaster that would have been! But as one in what will be a lifetime of Sibes, I know he's one in a million - and I will probably never be lucky enough to have one like him. He breaks all the rules of being a Siberian - but at least he breaks the rules, and that makes him all Sibe. :)