Monday, June 10, 2013

Spur: Training the Beast, Part 20

Quick Walk, Monday, June 10

I got home at a reasonable time, so Doug and I went out to eat. When we got home, he debated mowing the lawn, but it was still too wet from storms we had earlier in the day. He opted to saw some limbs off our dying pine tree.

I strapped Spur’s collar on him, packed a snack baggie with bite sized treats and headed off on a quick walk. On our trip away from the house, we encountered nobody, nor any distractions. A neighbor had some beautiful Clematis growing on their mailbox so I asked Spur if he wanted to stop and sniff. Uh, wrong thing to ask an intact male dog. He dove into the Clematis, turned and raised his leg. Just then, the resident dog came barreling up the driveway wearing a similar collar to Spur’s; I assumed, since the dog stopped in his driveway, it was part of an invisible fence system. I’ve heard how sometimes dogs with invisible fences will bear the punishment of the fence to go after something they’re intent on getting. Spur answered back “BAH-RAH-RAH-RAH-RAH!!!” I wanted to remove him from the incident, worrying that the resident dog could still come through his “fence.” I looked to see if the road was clear. A dump truck was coming in one direction; a large pick-up was coming from the other. I could not back Spur up into the street and he was blocking my way for me to continue (dragging) him in the direction we were headed. “BAH-RAH-RAH-RAH-RAH-RAH-RAH! I! WILL! EAT! YOU! FOR! DINNER!!! BAH-RAH-RAH-RAH-RAAAAA!” The remote had been set on 20 and was not affecting him. I was too busy keeping hold of his leash, trying NOT to get hit by traffic and trying to move him to a safer location that I could not increase the level on his remote. When the trucks passed (I was a little miffed at the pick-up as it had been in the lane that I was walking in. I’m sure he saw I was having an issue with my dog, yet he barely slowed down, nor gave me any additional space) I was able to get Spur to walk on beyond the Clematis house. I then was able to turn up his remote and I gave him a few extra corrections as well as a few choice words. I had planned on continuing further down the street but then decided to pass the Clematis house several times, looking for the resident dog to provide additional distraction, but that dog seemingly disappeared. Two houses away (back in the direction of our own house) a man with a chainsaw was trimming limbs from his trees. The chainsaw was noisy, so I walked Spur several times back and forth in front of this house, too. Then, in the yard between Clematis and Chainsaw, a little girl came across her front yard. She saw Spur, but she was more interested in talking to the man with the chainsaw so she was not a problem for Spur, either.

Spur and I continued our walk back toward our own house. Beyond, on the road, I spotted another neighbor who owns a friendly Bernese Mountain Dog. Walker was unleashed with his owner. When Walker spotted us, I noticed his walk became more of a trot. I pulled Spur into a driveway and we practiced puppy pushups. The neighbor waved to me from the distance. I waved back. Then the neighbor took Walker across his front yard. Spur and I continued our walk. As we passed Walker’s home, he was already put up and the neighbor and his wife were getting into their car. Spur didn’t have any issues with this.

As we got even closer to our home, our other neighbors, the Smiths* were out for an evening walk. MK and John had never personally met Spur, but MK has seen his photos on Facebook. “Awwwww! There’s Spur!” MK said to John. I waved and had Spur sit in a driveway as they approached. I cautioned them that Spur is not people friendly, but let them know I had treats that they could throw at him. Spur sat quietly with a few tiny “oofs.” John and MK stood at mid-street and threw the treats at Spur. He did well and John was able to hand the treat bag back to me at the end of our visit. Spur did great with the Smiths! I told him so as we walked the rest of the way back to our house. He heels so nicely and I love it when he looks up at me while we’re walking. Dang he’s cute!

(*names have been changed for privacy)

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