Dog Lover’s Idaho with a Moment of Frustration, Brought to You by a Puppy

Box Canyon








Directions: Take I-84 to Exit #155 in Wendell and go west 3 miles to county road 1500 East. Turn left (follow the sign to Buhl). Follow this road about 5* miles to the signed parking lot on the right.


In Jon Katz book Katz on Dogs: A Commonsense Guide to Training and Living with Dogs it reads “…only about 3 to 5 percent of Americans train their dogs at all.”  Today, I understand why- IT’S HARD!

We went on this hike with friends and their sweet dog Jelly. Jelly is older, trained and can do well off leash. Butter is not there yet. She is still learning in all her environments. I understand she is only 6 months old, but it is still difficult when you are in the moment of frustration.

As soon as we started this hike Butter was very excited to see her friend, the people, the smells, nature and the water. For the first half mile she pulled non-stop. I asked my friends to keep moving. I recognize training does not stop and I needed to help Butter learn in this moment, not later! Thankfully, they kept going as Butter whined, pulled and did not listen. However, I stayed consistent… if she pulled, I stopped, waited for her to look at me, offered her a treat and we proceeded. She typically did not want the treat, so her reward was moving forward. I did this again, and again, and again….


I gave her commands and waited for her to follow. When she didn’t (many times) I would ask her again in a few minutes or just wait. Mostly I used patience and treats. But it was frustrating, tiring, upsetting, ridiculous and embarrassing. I am consistent, I work with her daily, I exercise her regularly, I socialize her often and I try my best to keep calm. Yes, she got yelled at today, well, talked at sternly. My point: dog training is hard! Sometimes it just plain stinks. But, be one of the 3-5% and keep trying, because someday it will be worth it and I will enjoy this hike.


***Update: I have been taking Butter on more hikes and we attempted Box Canyon again and she did well.

Now, to the experience with the pretty pictures that everyone else will have…perfect! If perfect is ever a true thing.

Playing in the water.

Box canyon has beautiful clear water, amazing lookout views and a perfect swimming hole. We went on a Sunday afternoon and there were people, but by no means was it crowded. No one was at the swimming hole at the same time and we spend about 20 minutes wading or dipping our feet.

So hot she would lay down.









When you arrive at the parking lot there are about 10 spots. You will need to have an Idaho Parks Pass or pay $5.00 to park. They have two trash cans, one by the parking lot and one by the viewpoint. The viewpoint also has two portable potty’s to use. After you pass these it is just trail and water, so make your stop now.

The trail is about 5 miles with a view point about a quarter mile from the parking lot. The viewpoint is easily accessed across farm ground and anybody can attend this short walk since it is accessed from a dirt road that is wide and flat. You can not drive this, so a person will need to be able to walk. A stroller could access this viewpoint.

After leaving the overlook you will take a path off the main road and go to the canyon where there will be a sign and then you will have a metal rope going down into the canyon along the trail. I would consider the hike in the canyon to be moderate. It is a trail with plenty of brush and you will need to walk single file. I could not have Butter next to me for much of the trail and you do not want to take a dog that pulls down this canyon (trust me!). I found it helpful that Butter understands the command “stay” or “wait” (when she was listening…) because it gets very steep at times and you will want to have your dog wait while you go down the rocks. You will need to climb down rocks and up rocks that are about to your waist (if you are my height… about 5″4′). There are a few points where you are jumping from one rock to another with mud and water underneath the rocks. Butter did have to jump up and down the rocks multiple times, but she only needed help once.

The best stick in the entire canyon!

The trail is not very wide and there are people, so make sure that you have control of your dog on or off leash. We did not meet other dogs, but we did meet kids and adults.


You will want good shoes, good hiking clothes and possibly some swim wear. It was hot enough that I dipped my legs in while Butter played and was happy to be slightly wet on my way back. I even refilled one of our empty water bottles to pour it on Butter for the hike back since it was hot. In fact, two waters, one for me and one for Butter did not feel like enough- bring plenty of water! I appreciated my snack I brought, so bring something to eat with good protein.

This trail has a lot of overgrown brush on the sides and some poison oak, so long pants are recommended.

One challenge for me was having the dog, my bag and going down the rocks. A backpack that is easy to carry and bringing enough supplies will be best. Don’t forget to bring your poop bags and leave the trail cleaner than you found it. Since there are no garbage cans at the swimming hole, bring an extra bag or two to collect your garbage and put your poop bag in to carry it out. I double bag when I carry poop for a while so I don’t have to smell it.













This hike was extra great because we both slept well once we got home! It was a good workout.

Despite our extreme training moments….

Butter gives it 4 paws up!

Butter only has 4 paws… so 4 paws is the best.

*The directions originally say about 3.2 miles to the signed parking lot, but it is closer to 5 miles. Keep driving and looking for the sign and you will find it.