Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Walk it Out

Spring has sprung in the South. Everything is covered in green: the trees, the grass, my car (thank you pollen). You can't help but be cheerful when all this life is around you.

The warm weather and longer days also mean morning and/or late evening walks for the girls. Seka and Roxy are wusses when it comes to cold weather. I guess they take after me. I hate being cold. Even air conditioning in the dead of summer can be too much for me and I drag a hoodie with me everywhere I go. Roxy needs a jacket, pjs or a blanket when the air conditioning is going full blast in July. So even when it is 90 degrees at 7a, we like the warmth.

For the most part, I like walking the girls. Let me clarify, I like walking Roxy. She loves taking various routes around the neighborhood and will go as long as I ask her to. She only freaks out when the UPS truck passes us.

Seka, on the other hand, divides her walking behavior into thirds. For the first 1/3 of the walk she is horrible. I don't know what it is that makes it necessary for her to mark EVERYTHING she passes. We can't get more than five feet before she is sniffing and squatting. Sometimes no amount of correction will call her off whatever sent she catches a whiff of. After dragging her away from 10 different spots that she has to mark, she gives up and decides to enjoy walking for the next 1/3 of our route without too much distraction. Then the last 1/3 of the walk she decides to stop and do her best mule impression in the middle of the road. She just decides that she's done, no matter what Roxy and I prefer to do.

I carry treats and use it for reinforcement at the cue "keep it up." I only treat her when she is in motion and doing as I ask. But eating cookies as you walk kind of defeats the purpose. I think I'm going to start using a coupler and see if Roxy can encourage Seka to "keep it up" with some sisterly encouragement.

No matte how frustrating Seka's stubborn streak can be, I cherish the time we are out together. I guess Seka thinks we're like Hansel and Gretel, leaving her own brand of bread crumbs, so we can be sure to find our way home.


houndstooth said...

Oh boy do I absolutely feel your pain! We tried a coupler with our fosters and Hawk when he was younger. It did work do a degree. It wouldn't solve our current problem, though, since Bunny is the good walker and she weighs fifty pounds while Blueberry is not so good and weighs about seventy pounds.

Have you thought about walking them separately and giving Seka a shorter one?

BrittBeah said...

I always find it fun when the 85 lb dog decides to stop walking when we are far from home. It always creats an interesting problem. I end up in the middle between Dan, still walking wonderfully, and Set, who also likes to do an inpression of a mule. I always wonder what people are thinking when I walk by, litterally DRAGGING this ridiculous dog behind me just so we can go home.
And I totally feel you about not enjoying the cold. I carry a coat to work because all the weirdos there think that keeping the temp of the building at 80 is a little warm. lol