Monday, July 4, 2011

I think I've walked my dog enough

What?? How is that even possible?

Well, I didn't think it was, but yesterday, for the first time that I can remember, Tinky-Winky didn't want to walk.

Our afternoon walk was short because she was being uncooperative and I didn't feel like putting up with it. I figured we'd have a good evening walk instead.

Evening comes and I'm getting ready for our walk. Tinky-Winky is lying in the hallway, watching me douse myself in DEET and put my shoes on. Then I grabbed her leash, and she stayed right where she was.


I jingled the leash. She stayed right where she was.


At this point I realized I didn't have the camera, which she associates with walks. So I grabbed it and showed her I had both her leash and the camera. She got up and took two steps towards me, and then turned around.


She looked back and forth between me and the living room for a while, and then ran back into the living room. I followed her to see what she was doing. She was getting a drink of water. Then she came to me and after some more pussy-footing, she got her leash put on.

Wow, that took long enough.

Finally we get outside and she just will not walk. She is constantly finding excuses to stop and pull in any direction but forward. And I kept looking at her and wondering if she's tired, or sore, or old, but she looked fine. She didn't have her head down or her tongue out, she didn't move like she was tired, and she had plenty of energy for fighting me.

We didn't get very far before I got tired of dragging her along and turned back. And she trotted all the way home at a good clip without stopping for anything. So it really wasn't about being tired; she just didn't want to walk.

Ok, so this morning I bring her back to the same spot, which isn't our usual off-leash walk. Normally in the mornings we go along the paved trail and then the road. I'd rather be on the nature trail, but I tried it all winter and she takes off and runs on the road instead, so I gave up. But now when we're on the nature trail, she's constantly finding things she allegedly wants to explore. So fine, let's go off-leashing on the nature trail.

It went perfectly. She stayed on the trail and ran along ahead of me, staying mostly where I could see her. When I reached the point where we normally turn onto Gaetz, I did a U-turn instead and walked back along the road, and she still stayed with me. Full of energy and happiness, big smile, bright eyes, everything. And when we got home she didn't hem and haw about leashing up and going inside, either.

So, clearly it wasn't about fatigue, it was about attitude. Which is worse, actually. Fatigue is cured by rest; attitude is a much more baffling problem, especially in a little dog. So since I don't have a strategy for bad attitude, I'm going to treat it like fatigue: by reducing her walking. Since she doesn't want to walk on leash with me and it's not really possible to walk her off-leash twice a day right now, she can stay home when I go for my afternoon walk, and in the evenings we'll have a short walk on the leash. It works out well for me anyway because the afternoon is prime insect-watching time and I can't chase insects and fight with the dog at the same time. And hopefully she'll appreciate her walks more when she's getting less of them.

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