We’re not in the GTA anymore

It’s been just over year since we moved from Ontario to beautiful British Columbia.  It was noted for years that Flipflop was a B.C. boy and he would love it out here, rather than in the confines of our busy city.

The truth is, for most of my life I loved living in the city. I loved having 24/7 access to pretty much anything I wanted and all within walking distance. But two years ago I came to a crossroad in my life. My career, that I have given so much to, no longer excited me, I rarely saw my friends, aside from those who lived in my building, and the overcrowded parks, shops and roads were wearing on me.

I’ve wanted to move to B.C. since the very first time I visited it here, and with a lot of soul searching and encouragement from a few good friends, I decided it was time.  I put my plan into place and six months later we arrived in Kamloops.

Flipflop thrived, as expected, in his new environment, being a such a dog friendly town, several parks are dog friendly (leash free), and Flipflop is able to run and explore.

Despite my knowing we were in the mountains, I still wasn’t fully prepared for living amongst wildlife. Don’t get me wrong we’re not in the middle of no where, but we are in a mountain town where we share our lands with deer, bears, foxes, coyotes, big horned sheep, heck we even have wild horses! We have encountered  all except for the bears, but have seen a lot of evidence that they are around us.

We have seen several reminders of the circle of life and torn up deer carcasses, bird parts and fur are found on several of our walks.   For an animal lover like me, it’s very hard to see.  For a dog like Flipflop, it’s like Christmas!!  Just this morning he came running out of the the bush with fur in his mouth.

He is delighted on his walks walks when he finds “treats”  and as luck would have it, his little pack of dog friends he’s met in the passed year, make sure they show one another where the good finds are along our trials.  And Flipflop never forgets!

It is a reminder how dangerous life can be out here for our domesticated animals. Flipflop is fitted with a bell on his collar, this helps alert any near by wildlife we are around.  I was told this prevents the dog from startling bears as well. It also helps me to hear if he is near by, when in thick bush, along with his PawScout.

A couple months ago, much to dismay and absolute heartbreak, I stated to look into e-collars.  When moving to BC, I noticed many dogs wore them here.  I have never been a fan of e-collars. I’ve never been a fan of any device that could potentially cause discomfort to my dogs.

A few friends of mine use them on their dogs and I interviewed them as part of my research.  Two of my friends even lent me theirs to play with and try if on Flipflop, if I wanted to.

The collars sat on my counter, I still couldn’t bring myself to put them on Flipflop.  But I did start trying them on myself, as a way to understand how they work, sound and feel around ones neck.  I would never do anything to my animals that I would not do to myself!

After many more days of pulling dead animal parts from Flipflop’s mouth, having him take off on me, to eat bones or worse, I knew I had to do something, for the sake of his health and well-being.

I put the e-collar on Flipflop, and started using the sound feature.  Every time the collar beeped around Flipflop’s neck he was rewarded with a treat and praise by me.  On our next couple walks, I would use the collar to send a sound to him and he would come running to me. Basically I retrained him on his recalls, using the sound of the collar.  Flipflop had great recalls in Ontario, but he also didn’t have the temptations he has out here!

Flipflop and I can now enjoy exploring our mountains and he is responding very well with his new collar.  Unlike, when we lived in the GTA, Flipflop is able to be off leash every day, and loves to explore.

And now that he’s doing very well with this recalls again, we’re able to explore more and he is a very happy and content mountain dog.