We’re in a lazy phase.
Between ridiculous work schedules, travel (John and I are only home together 10 days this month), more doctors’ appointments than you can even imagine (mine here and in Indy, Emmett’s here and at Purdue, Newt’s and Coop’s annuals), plus two weekend visits from out-of-towners, our October has dissolved before our very eyes. Walking the dogs has – sadly, guiltily – become a rare occurrence this month.
And it shows.
With Lucas and Cooper, walking is so important because we constantly have to work with them on reactivity. Little slips result in big backslides. My most recent walk with Lucas demonstrated that clearly.
There’s this spot on our block where there’s a set of steps built into the side of a hill. You can bypass the steps and go into the park, or walk down and go along this windy little trail. I never, ever, EVER take Lucas on that trail because it’s super narrow and the woods are so overgrown that you literally can’t see a dog coming until they’re nose-to-nose.
On this particular walk, as we were bypassing the stairs, a couple of people were walking up them. They took Lucas by surprise, and he started to strain at the leash, growling. He’s not normally one to react to people, so I should’ve seen it as the red flag it was.
I had my cheese, of course, so I stuck the can in his mouth and got him past before it could turn into a full-blown reaction.
We turned into the park just as a guy with a big husky turned into the park from the other side. I immediately started in on “watch-mes” and picked up our pace, but he was whipping his head around to stare at the dog and whining his face off.
After one loop of the park, I could tell he wasn’t going to let this other dog go. He was responding to “watch me” but as soon as he got his reward, he went back to staring down the dog. So rude.
So, I decided to head home.
And, of course (of. course.) as soon as we got to the spot with the stairs, not only were more people coming up – starting a round of growling and straining – but a man and his off-leash dog were out for a jog on that same side of the street. We crossed immediately, but Lucas was just zoned at that point, ignoring my cues and the cheese. We were only a few houses away, so I timed our pace to cross the runners with a car between us to block Lukey’s vision then darted across the street and up our porch.
On the one hand, compared to the “old” Lucas, it wasn’t that bad. Nothing turned into a full-blown reaction. I’m thrilled about that and have been trying to focus on that instead of his lack of focus and growling at dog-less people.
Things look far more settled and routine for the November ahead, so my big and only goal for the boys is to get back into a regular walking schedule. We need it!!
How have your walks been going lately? Do you ever slip into periods like this where you just can’t fit it all in? Or, if not, what are your strategies for staying on top of walks?