I remember a few years ago, my best friend told me that her husband one night, totally frustrated with the behavior of their puppy – who was about 11 months old and full of energy, announced that he was taking the dog for a walk to hopefully work off some of that energy before bed. She had already taken the dog for a walk that day, but decided that it was best to just let him go around the block and walk off his own frustrations.
Off they went, around their development, maybe a mile walk. When they got home, Zeke – the puppy – settled down and napped awhile, and was calm the rest of the evening. They were amazed at how little it took to make such a big difference, and nightly walks commenced along with the morning walks.
Yesterday was not a great day. Maverick and I have been walking on my road for the past week, about a mile – which leaves him happily tired from all the sniffing and gives me an hour or so of peace. But Wednesdays are my long days – I leave home at noon and don’t get back till around 5. I’m normally a bit frazzled from student demands and trying to get stuff done on campus when I’m only there two days each week. When I got home, I fixed his food, and was planning to go for our walk once he ate.
And he wouldn’t eat. Frustration abounded – on my part and I’m sure on his. I didn’t want to train or walk until he ate. He wanted to paw at me and go out to the field every 15 minutes and bark at me and generally be a twit. He refused food until almost 8, by then I was beyond annoyed and wasn’t going to go for a walk in the fast approaching dark.
I realized later that this is what he does every Wednesday. I’m not sure if it’s anxiety from me being away so long, or if he’s pissed off that I was away for so long. It doesn’t really matter, the realization gave me the tools to work with this.
Today we went for a walk before noon. He napped till 2, then I had to leave for about 1/2 hour. When I got back, I got the “treatment” which was cured by intense attention for the next 1/2 hour. I think he got sick of me. 🙂 At 4, I fed him and he cleaned his bowl. Food has been an ongoing battle of wills – so if he cleans his bowl the first time, it’s a major victory. A half hour of training, and back we went for our second walk.
The nap was awesome. The peace and quiet was wonderful.
The happy puppy was the best part. He was so excited to be out THERE, to be sniffing and seeing and sniffing some more! He was so happy, and so content when he got back home.
I love to walk. If we need to go three times a day, then walk three times we shall. When he’s bored with our route, we’ll go further and go down the road THAT way instead of the other way.
One of my goals was to have him walk with me, nicely, for a good couple miles, by September. I had almost given up hope of that happening. Maybe I shouldn’t give up just yet.