Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Do you walk your dog or does your dog walk you?

10/365: Walking humane society dogs at lunchtime.Dog Walk '06
The photo on the left shows the "proper position" for walking dog. The photo on the left, while not extreme like some I've seen, shows the dog walking the owner.

We take our dogs out for a walk nearly every day (at least week days). Let me chronicle our routine.
  1. Before leaving the house, the dogs must sit in the doorway to the laundry while we get ready and wait to have their leashes attached.
  2. We head out the door. The dog must wait for the owner to go out first. It's a pack behavior that we want to instill (we are the "alpha").
  3. We have rituals that the dogs have learned. One such ritual that we do for their safety is to stop and sit on both sides of the street.
  4. Sometimes we let the "play". When we walk by an area which isn't owned by a neighbor, such as a park or an empty lot, we let the dogs explore to the end of the leash.
  5. After a "play" we call them back to "heel". Keva will slow, sometimes imperceptibly to allow me to catch up with him.
  6. Sometimes we work. One of the most difficult things to teach a dog at first is to "down", that is to lay down on the ground. The reason is that down is a submissive action and also, in the outdoors, a dangerous one. We will sometimes do a "down in motion" where we have the dog do a down while we are walking. While the dog is down, we will continue, sometimes to the end of the leash, sometimes much further. At some point, we either return to the dog or call the dog to us.
  7. Walk time is, of course, one of the times the dog can "do their duty". We clean up after them.
One of the most satisfying times is during those walks where the dog is focused on me. Where he senses what I want him to do. I'll look down and see him looking up at me.

I started this post a couple of days ago and have let it age a bit before completing it.

About a year and a half ago, I posted "What my dog teaches me about God". Looking at the list above, I am still learning. Is God "walking me" or am I attempting to "walk God".

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