Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Miss Manners Is Missing

We walk Angus nearly every night.  Dean used to be the one who held the retractable leash but on one of our walks a couple of weeks ago I noticed he kept letting Angus range out.  “You’re supposed to keep him close to you.  He needs to learn to stay near us because he’s going to be a big boy and I don’t want him to yank my arm off from his pulling when I’m the one holding the leash.”  The next night as we got ready to take Angus on his nightly walk, Dean held out the leash and said, “Here Miss Smartypants.  YOU hold the leash.” (something like that anyway)  and that was that.  Of course, because I had impugned Dean’s dog-walking prowess, and can feel him silently critiquing my own leash-holding-dog-walking proficiency every night, I am now under constant pressure to walk Angus exhibiting exemplary technique.  

When we walk I keep the leash short and Angus close.  He does pretty well walking beside me, but now and then he tries to drag me onto the grass.  I drag him back.  He drags me toward the grass.  I drag him back.  He drags me toward the grass.  I drag him back.  After a while I finally realize he’s dragging me over because he needs to pee or poop.  So I extend the leash so he can wander off into the grass and sniff out the perfect spot to take care of business.  (Don’t worry.   Dean might not hold the leash anymore but he does carry the plastic bag.)

Last night as Dean and I were on our dog walk and Angus and I kept dragging each other onto and off of the grass I finally, once again, realized he must want to take care of business.  So I lengthened the leash to give him privacy but all he did was sniff.  There must have been a bunch of awesome smells last night because we pulled each other from sidewalk to grass and back for about 30 minutes.  Oh, sure, there were a couple of times when he peed, but mostly he just burrowed his nose in the grass or under a bush and sniffed.  Finally, about four blocks from home, his sniffing became a bit more insistent so I thought maybe he really did intend to do more than just inhale doggie ambrosia; plus I thought it looked like he was beginning to do the poop walk.  So I quickly lengthened his leash and let him wander into a yard.   

It turned out no peeing or pooping followed his stroll in the grass.  His unrelenting sniffing was triggered by a scent that drives every dog wild rabbit.  Before my brain had even registered a rabbit threat Angus was halfway across the yard in hot pursuit.  Just before my arm was nearly ripped from my shoulder my hand, still gripping the leash handle, slammed into the mailbox next to me.  As I was fighting tears, clutching my throbbing hand, and dragging Angus back, I looked over at Dean.  He was grinning.  “You always tell me  not to let his leash out.”

As much as I wanted to, I didn’t say what I thought throw down the leash, stomp off cradling my now bleeding hand and walk home by myself.  No. I waited until we were three houses from home, in full view of the neighbors.  

13 more days until Dog Owner Puppy Kindergarten.  



Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

Oh my that must have really hurt. 'Angus has both of you fooled already. When not train him to use a certain spot in your yard? Then walks will be just for exercise. All will be happier.

Lesley Collins said...

Hermann is looking forward to puppy class too.

Art Elser said...

I was walking Walker on the flex leash, but he wandered around too much, and it is truly hard to walk with that leash wrapped twice around my knees. So I walk him now on a six foot lead and it works out much better. He's not a problem with rabbits, mostly because there aren't any around. The red fox have taken care of that.

But the damned squirrels are a problem. They hide behind a big elm, clinging to the bark three feet up, and then stick out their tongues at Walker as we go past. He yanks my arm pretty hard as he tries to climb the tree after the squirrel.

I've found a way to make sure the dogs poop on each walk. Forget the plastic bag. Works every time.

Abby said...

"the poop walk"? Awesome.

Deano said...

You should be a novelist!