Every dog likes walkies. You say the ‘w’ word and little pooch wags its tail, desperate to get his/her lead on and hit the open road. All those dreams you’ve had of long, lazy walks through the countryside, little puppy calmly bouncing along at your heel, both enjoying the fresh air and playing fetch. . .
Crash, bang, poof! Back to reality. Getting the collar or harness on can be a mini drama. Puppy runs away. Puppy grabs lead out of your hands. Puppy ducks and dives, refusing to get leashed up.
When you finally win the battle, puppy bites on the lead.
Once you’re out the door, surely things will fall into place.
New noises, new smells, people, other dogs, cars, swans, geese, a river, everything is an adventure to explore or a danger to fear.
Pup sits down refusing to move. Nope, not budging for anything. She is desperate to go back the way she came, which on the plus side is comforting because at least she knows the way home!
Once again it’s the ‘P’ words that need to be applied.
If you’ve got a stubborn puppy the only way to get it out and about loving ‘walkies’ is to keep on doing it. Graded exposure to traffic and all the other fear factors will see your pooch walking further and further.
Take treats to tempt them along the route. Take toys to make it a fun experience. Let them socialise with other dogs and people as much as possible. Repeat the walk three or four times a day. And don’t be defeated.
Pippi’s stubborn (I now know how my mum and dad must’ve felt bringing up me!). We’re still working on getting her to venture out of her comfort zone. But she is, slowly but surely. Have faith in your loyal companion.
And one day, I’m sure our walking dreams will come true and she’ll learn to love it.
Mummy and daddy are always wanting to take me outside. They get my lead off the hook and I do get a bit excited ‘cos it’s something different and I know I’ll get treats too, especially if I sit down and pretend I won’t go any further. I think they think I really want to go home, hee hee! But sometimes I’m just tired and want to snuggle up on my blankie. Sometimes it’s all wet and cold and I’d rather not get my paws muddy. Other times I just don’t want to go, I don’t fancy it.
Lots of times it’s really noisy and there are two-legged people out walking four-legged creatures like me. Even though I know they are part of my dog family it can be really scary ‘cos some are like big, really big giants. If I’m feeling brave and they are gentle, I’ll touch noses with them. But if they’re bouncy and boisterous I don’t like it all. I hide behind mummy’s legs until they go away. It makes me shake a little bit.
There’s always something new that frightens me: the big boxes on wheels that are loud and thunder past; or the strange long-necked birds on the river; and the people that whizz past on bikes. I don’t want to get hurt and I know mummy and daddy wouldn’t let that happen but everything is so huge. I’m trying to be brave but I do get a bit panicky.