Traveling Dog Lady: walkin' the dog

Friday, December 29, 2006

walkin' the dog




Today, I walked Hobie around the block. Hector can't go on long walks because of his paw injury. Gil tells me Hector was very unhappy being left behind -- he "howled like a wolf", baying and lowing at the absence of his pack.

Hobie and I had the lucky streak of being able to practice greeting other dogs. This is something I can rarely do successfully when I have both Hobie and Hector on leash. Mainly because they will pull me down on the ground, but also they scare other dog owners. They are just so excited to greet other dogs -- not aggressive, just excited.

I counted the number of dogs we encountered this morning. Seven. First was Billy, who is a regular playmate of Hobie and Hector. No big deal there. Next, we met up with Shannon's brother-in-law and his three dogs. This was great. I blocked Hobie by standing between him and the other dogs. I was calm and gentle, didn't use loud vocal commands, just quiet and as few words as possible. The man asked if his dogs could say hello. "Sure, definitely!" I replied. His three dogs were unruly, barking, growling carrying on (except for the little female she was very sweet -- I think Hobie has a crush on her!). Hobie was an exemplary student.

Onward and upward. We walked by Oscar's house -- where, predictably, Oscar proceeded to bark, bark, bark, bark, bark until we passed in both directions. After Oscar's house, at the end of the dirt road is Alana's sister's house -- she has a really friendly Border Collie. We didn't get to greet him, as he had turned his back and was apparently avoiding us. But that's ok, that, too is an exercise in dog behavior.

Back past Shannon's sister's house, and right before we get there, I see a dog I've never seen before. Hobie doesn't see it. It's loose. No owner in sight. I again positioned myself between Hobie and the other dog, who had by that time gone out-of-sight. I shortened Hobie's leash so he was right beside me, but kept it slack so as not to have any tension on the leash. New-dog, whose name I found out a few minutes later is Riley, was up on the porch of the house with his owner. When he spotted us, and Hobie spotted him (her?) Hobie perked up and I was not making eye contact with Riley or his owner, but I heard the woman say, "AHCK!" then, "No, Riley!" Well, of course Riley gave her the paw and came out to the road to greet us. Riley and Hobie were perfect gentlemen -- great body-language, ears up, tails up, happy faces, sniff, sniff, sniff. Riley's owner was unhappy that Riley had approached us. Riley wanted to follow us! I said, "C'mon Hobie, we're going home," at which point Riley fell in line and was going to join our pack! I saw what was happening and immediately made Hobie stop, resulting in Riley stopping. Riley's owner was able to grab Riley's collar and bring him back home. And Hobie and I went back to ours, where Hector was waiting, happy to see us. I took Hector outside in the back yard for a quick stroll, just me and Hector, and the new ball he got for Christmas.