The Pooping Dog

Many years ago, long before I met Kali, my dad and me saw this little statue of a pooping dog on a market in Italy. It’s obviously a very special thing, but the vendor was asking too much for our budget. We kinda regretted that for years now. Who can say he has a statue of a pooping dog?

Anyway, this summer my dad went back to that same village again, and the Pooping Dog was still there! And the asked price was much lower, so he didn’t hesitate a minute.

And here it is, our Pooping Dog!

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Piz Mez

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Our goal for the day, Piz Mez (Middle Peak), covered in snow. We started just when the sun rose.

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Piz Mez in the back, first marmot of the day in the centre. They’ll soon retreat into their burrows and sleep through winter.

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First river crossing ahead..

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Also, see our new custom-made harness in bright orange for added visibilty during our hikes.

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Tracking an ibex.

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Our first Gipfelbuch (peak book)!

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Last river crossing for the day…

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Back at the starting point, right when the sun sets.

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Schweisshund

In German we have the saying: Jagd ohne Hund ist Schund.

That roughly translates to: hunting without a dog is trash.

Today this mostly means that every hunter should have easy and fast access to a local tracking hound to find wounded game if he needs to. Not every hunter has the time and ressources to keep and train a blood tracking hound (what we call Schweisshund in German), nor does everyone want such a dog.

We have groups of hunters with specially trained dogs for this task, who will search for wounded game if a hunter doesn’t kill it on spot.

This is Ayla, a Bavarian Mountain Hound and working Schweisshund demonstrating her abilities at the hunting fair. Here she is getting her harness on, the sign that work starts now.

Her handler lets her find the starting point of the track on her own. She is worked on a loose leash, so that the handler doesn’t influence the dog even if the handler knows the track, as is the case in training situation.

Getting close..

…and found! In this task she was asked to follow a track of sprayed deer blood which led to a deer coat.

Isn’t she a beautiful dog?

Swiss Hounds

At a recent hunting fair they had a presentation of different breeds used for hunting around here. We saw some beautiful dogs, especially a nice variety of our Swiss Hounds.

The Swiss hound comes in 4 colours and both the normal-legged type and a short-legged type which was created by crossing in Dachsbracken and Dachshunds.

These are Lucerne dogs, called Luzerner Laufhunde in German.

And these lovely black and tan dogs with the long ears are Jura hounds, Jura Laufhunde in German.

A very nice Schwyzer Hound.

And the last colour variety is the Bernese Hound, called Berner Laufhund:

Unfortunately they only had Bernese hounds of the short-legged type at the fair we call these Berner Niederlaufhunde. Aren’t they awesome little dogs? Unlike Basset hounds who are also a short-legged type of hound, these don’t have excess skin. They also have tight lips and clean eyes. They are not exagerated dogs, but useful hunting partners.

And the last two of these are indeed very special. They are wirehaired, a variety which is quite rare today.

What we did last summer: Kali – the Nepali Cattle Dog

Kali’s first evening on the alp: sharing some leftovers with co-worker dog Tosca. The beautiful Swiss Alps, on one of the few sunny days we had. During our rare, but well deserved afternoon naps, Kali keeps watch. Always need to keep an eye on tourists… Kali’s first time helping to drive the cows. I had her on a leash the first few times, because she was never around cattle like this before.

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But she learned quickly… … could soon be sent after single cows. This one is Helen, the nastiest of all our cows.     She was fine with cows pretty soon, but goats are a whole different matter. Amanda is a beautiful Bündner Strahlenziege who belongs to the neighbour alp and came for a walk with us. She definitively did not want to play with Kali… Kali also joined me in counting and checkin on the heifers, who spent the summer free-ranging higher up in the mountains, over the pastures for the dairy cows. Sometimes also co-worker dog Tosca would come along. But checking on heifers is rather complicated with two dogs who’d rather hunt marmots. The heifers’ pasture grounds… Everything you can see on this side of the valley is theirs.

Stranger in the Snow

This is actually quite impressive for Kali. She does not usually like stranger dogs, mostly because they approach her too fast. The Welsh Terrier here was very calm while inviting her to play, so they had a nice run around the field…