Every morning and evening, we walk dog Apollo.
On the surface, the “goal” is for him to empty his bowels each time.
Other things happen . . . and we learn.
These walks usually happen @ the same time each morning and each evening, so he always gives us a nudge when the time is nearing. If we’re mired in another project and ignore the nudge, he exhibits patience and stays present until we are ready. He is ALWAYS rewarded by a walk.
It ALWAYS starts at the right time . . .
When we attach his leash, he heads for the door and waits . . . door opens . . . he charges forward potentially yanking the arm off the unfortunate human on the other end and making it impossible to close and lock the door behind us.
I noticed today that my first reaction (always) is to yank the leash back . . . I shifted my strategy and let go of my end . . . Apollo stopped immediately and sat down to watch me close and lock the door.
Without resistance . . . no struggle!
Apollo sticks his nose in everything along the way and marks the territory as we go. If I were to let him have his way, he would stop at every mail-box and fire hydrant and bush and tree resulting in a 3 hour walk . . . I deal with this by keeping a steady pace . . . Apollo demonstrates an uncanny ability to prioritize and only stops at the best spots (as determined by his nose).
to sustain forward motion, one must learn to prioritize
Apollo “does his business” when he’s ready . . . If I’m in a hurry, he knows . . . and will hold out until the very end of the walk. When I’m not in a hurry, he “goes” within the first 1/4 mile, and we enjoy the remainder of the walk together.
Taking a walk is an agenda free zone which must not be taken seriously.
Squirrels and rabbits are to be chased regardless of the length of the leash.
When we see on-coming other humans walking dogs, Apollo implements the “hide and lean approach”. Just like a water skier, he leans way out on the wake (end of the leash) towards the other dog and begins walking crouched low so as not to be detected . . . The other dog mirrors this action . . . Two dogs in the middle of the road approaching each other in stealth fashion.
When they meet? It’s either love and/or hate. (I’ll NEVER understand the butt sniffing).
There’s no “plasticity” – they are instantly truthful and authentic and let their feelings be known immediately.
What if humans were to do the same?
When Apollo finds a stick, he trots gleefully.
There’s never been a walk that couldn’t improved by the finding of a good stick.
At the end of each walk, I release Apollo’s leash and let him RUN. Each time, he bolts off as if it’s the first time he’s ever been released. He runs 50 yards and hides behind a bush to ambush us when we get there . . . then another 50 yards for another ambush . . . and again and again til we get home.
Live each day as if it’s the first time and always have fun.
When we get home, we wipe Apollo’s feet.
Leave the dirty stuff “out there” . . . Home is for snuggling and relaxing with family.
Thank you for the reminders Apollo.
I’m just sayin’