Traveling Dog Lady: getting back out there

Friday, February 2, 2007

getting back out there



The snowstorm that was supposed to hit overnight missed us, and the sun is shining and it's actually sort of warm outside, for a February morning.

Hector's foot is healed. He is putting all of his weight on it.

I decided to take both dogs for a walk, to start reaching towards our goal.

I did what Cesar recommends: visualize the walk from start to finish.

1) What kind of leash/collars am I using? Regular buckle collars and matching leashes. No choke collar, no Illusion collar, no skinny leash.

2) How long of a walk? 20 minutes, maximum.

3) The route: To the end of our dirt road, across the main road, up the next dirt road on the left, and back again. Skip the third dirt road on the right -- could be cats and ice. I'm not ready for that.

Everything went exactly as planned.

Hector was way out in front. Since this was his first walk in over 6 weeks, I didn't make a fuss about that. He needed to burn off that energy. So, instead, I looked at it as a job for him to burn off the energy. It would be neat to give him a pulling job like a sled, bike or cart. He would be really good at that.

To prevent myself from having a muscle-pain flare-up, I constantly checked the leashes, making sure there was no tension on the leash. So, even though Hector was out in front, the leash was slack and my shoulders were down and relaxed, not tense.

On our return trip, Hobie wanted to go up the third dirt road on the right. I leash corrected, Cesar-style, a couple of times, while using my old standby command "Not today" which Hobie knows means: we're not going that way today!! (of course!) and we went home.

I went into the fenced-in back yard, me first, and dropped the leashes after entering through the gate. Both dogs stood and waited for me to take the leashes off. Then, they play-bowed and romped around for a minute or two.

We went inside the house, and I washed the dishes while they laid down and rested. (Exercise, followed by discipline.) This is our daily routine, regardless of whether we walk or just go out into the yard. The exercise is always followed by my washing the dishes while they rest.

After they've rested, we do "yogurt time". This is so that I, as pack leader, can eat first without having to eat a whole meal. I eat several spoonfuls of plain yogurt, and then I give them each a spoonful in their doggie bowls. This is followed by dog food which I scoop out with my hands, hold in my hands prayer-like, and make each of them sit before putting the food from my hands into their bowls.

After that, I let them finish the cat's leftover food from last night. They each get half of whatever she did not eat. It is a job, actually, because they clean her bowl and get all the dried on cat food off!


Then, they each get a "chewy chew", which is a beef or chicken-flavored rawhide stick. They, of course, have to sit for the cat food as well as the chewy chews.

This is affection.

Exercise, discipline, affection!! Ta daaaaa!

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