Last night I took Karma over to Koh Pich just after a heavy afternoon rainstorm. This is my favorite time to be over on the Tonle Sap and Mekong because the ground is washed down, the sand hills are ready for fresh tracks and colours in the sky are amazing. On arrival in the car park there are hoards of Freshy kids on scooters and even a couple of young louts in souped up cars doing their best drifting impression of Vin Diesel. I wonder if they know Vin is gay ?
I unload Karma and walk her on leash to a safe area and then sit her, release her and with ” Go on ! ” she is off like a rocket across the sand. I love watching her stride out at full pace and turning on a dime and then race back towards me. I can almost hear the muscles in her body growing and the blood pumping as she exercises and her smile says it all. She is happy as Larry. Koh Pich makes for the PERFECT dog park. I am the only one out there with a dog, there is no traffic and there are endless things for Karma to explore. I think it is a real shame the government is not developing this perfectly located expanse of land into a park for the people but it’s bloody typical of this country and those that run it. I have to carry a stick in case the odd mongrel stray gets any ideas but they tend to steer clear when they see me. I walk at a brisk pace which is also giving me a good workout and in the post-rain humidity the sweat starts streaming off me but it’s all good.
Soon enough we find a huge stash of concrete pipes and I walk past them at first and then think “hang on…..let’s try a few things ” so I walk Karma over to the a pipes and try to coach her through one with a “Through” command. She is clueless as to what I am asking so I take her by the collar and basically guide her in and giver her arse a shove. She is struggling at first and wants to back out but with some kiddy talk I get her through one pipe. And then another and then another and then another. Within 10 minutes I am simply tapping the opening of a pipe with my stick and saying “through” and she goes straight through !! I then find a few pipes that are at odd angles to each other and make a kind of zig zag course and within moments I am getting karma to move through about 5 consecutive pipes with ease. “Through” tap “through” tap “through” tap. God damn I am so pride of my dog I am beaming from ear to ear and I let her know it with much praise. Owning this dog is a bit like owning a kick arse muscle car but not having the highway to run it on. I mean…..I am starting to realise Karma’s huge potential but my training skills are limited and I really wish I had access to a mentor or a proper training school. I think Karma could do Search and Rescue or Shutzhund training ( her prey drive is insane ) or Agility and she would excel. The results I have got in just 4 months of ownership are mind blowing and she is just a joy to own and train. When we work together I can see here eyes probing me and asking ” what do you want me to do ….just tell me !?”. German Shepherds are well know for their desire / need to learn and please their owners and Karma has this trait in abundance.
After our little pipe session we then move to a long concrete deserted street and I continue with some things I work on every time I walk her. We traverse the avenue from side to side in 50 meter strips and every time we get to a kerb I give the “stop” command which halts Karma on a pin. “sit”. “wait”….and then “let’s go” and we cross over. Sometimes I also use the kerbs as “stay” markers and stay her at one side whilst I cross over and stand at the other side. Her stay is brilliant and I can wait for 10 minutes or more before walking back and releasing her. We then find some contorted steel-reinforcement bar ( for concreting ) and it has formed a hurdle that is at a height Karma can either go over or under. So I work on the “under” command and again…..after a couple of assisted attempts, I am able to tap the ground with my stick and say ” under” and she lowers her body and goes under it. I am giddy with pride at this stage so I need to stop training for the day or I will explode ;-). I take her to our secret pond which is a sand berm full of fresh rainwater and she sniffs around the but does not go in as she has only had one swim to date. We then head back to the car as we are both panting,sweating messes and in dire need of some fresh water. With a 4 day holiday starting and every Khmer in Phnom Penh heading out to the provinces, I am going to be spending every day over at Koh Pich with Karma….might even buy a cheap Chinese push bike and train her to run alongside me !.