When the boyfriend takes both dogs for a walk there is no problem. When I take the dogs for a walk there is no problem, except for a bit of pulling on the leash which is rectified by me kicking her in the head. No, not really. (See, you don't know, do you?) But when we each take a dog and take a walk there are problems.
Tootie starts crabbing. And by crabbing I mean getting all down close to the ground and sort of crawling like a Viet Cong in the bush, her breath all heaving. She's like a mad beast. The walk ends up taking forever because the boyfriend won't tolerate any pulling, much less crabbing. So, it's "sit" every time she gets all crabby. Last night I think she had to sit about 45 to 47 times on our walk. It was ridiculous. It shouldn't even be called a walk, it was a start and stop.
Cooper on the other hand is the best walker in the world. If he even thinks about pulling you just tighten you grip and he falls back into line at my heels. He's dumb, but submissive. I like that. The only time he ever takes off in his own direction is for peeing on the mailboxes. But that is not to be helped. I give him those without any grief. It's his one big thrill.
Anyway, last night we were trotting along, waiting for the wild animal behind us when Cooper dove head first into a ditch full of crisp fall leaves. One second he was walking, the next second he flung himself up to his eyeballs in leaves. Then he did it some more. It was about the cutest thing I'd ever witnessed. He seemed to love it. I had to drag him out of the pile.
Wish I'd had my camera.
After reading a couple of posts from local bloggers about dogs off leashes, Tim at Mother Tongue Annoyances wrote about dog walking etiquette. His post addresses the typical no-nos: not picking up the poop and keeping your mutt on a lead. But the last segment of his entry gave me pause. He writes:
When I see some of my spandex-clad neighbors biking or running by, literally dragging a doddering, panting Beagle or overweight Labrador Retriever behind them, I want to start throwing punches. Yes, we live in a society of overcommitment, where folks want to "multitask" and so forth. Here's my message:
Leave your f*cking dog at home when you exercise. Go run, and then walk your dog later. Stop abusing your pet.
I don't think I've ever seen one of these "human/pet exercise partnerships" where the dog looked like it could take the stress of the run. That is to say, I cannot recall seeing a Saluki, Italian Greyhound, or the like. No, I tend to see stubby-legged little dogs who have trouble keeping up with their masters; animals who perhaps wonder when this torment will be over so they can lap up some water and lie down in the shade.
This is the first time I've ever seen anyone make this complaint aloud. Before I owned a dog, or did any sort of jogging, I always thought it was mean that people made their dogs run with them. Running sucks! Why would they force their pet to go along with them?
As I grew older and wider I started to exercise for my health's sake. Mostly at the gym, but during the cooler months I'd walk/run outside. Then I got Tootie.
Tootie is part terrier, I'm sure of it. She has the high-energy personality of a terrier, and could, if we had time, go on 45 walks a day. She's highly curious, easily bored and always bounding across the house. After a bit of dog training reading I discovered that most of Tootie's behavioral problems could be resolved by running her ragged. If she's properly exercised, Cesar tells me, she won't be as likely to chew up the couch.
So, we went jogging together. And hiking. We don't do this very often, but if I head out for a three mile walk with some jogging thrown in for good measure, she sometimes comes along. And she loves it. I bring plenty of water and stryofoam bowls for her to drink from. And it's never been a problem.
I did a little looking around and found lots of legitimate-looking online resources for instructions on how best to exercise with your dog. Nothing I saw recommended against taking the pooch for a quick run.
If properly prepared, running with your dog seems perfectly healthy. Is there something I don't know? Am I abusing my pet?
A very brave squirrel has decided to build a nest in a tree in our backyard. The dogs are not having it.
I had to drag Cooper in by his collar to get him out from under that tree. And the damn squirrel is just sitting up there, breaking off limbs and sticks, calm as you please, while the mutts bark and moan and whine.
That squirrel is a badass.