Jasmine doesn’t like walkies. She gets very hyper-sensitive. She jumps at fast movement (oh, those EVIL tumbling leaves jumping out at her to bite her), slinks her shoulders and tucks her head down, peeks around every hedge and tree to make sure nothing is threatening is there…oh poor ‘Fraidy Dog! Jasmine would rather be smack dab in the middle of one of her fluffy pillows than doing something as frightening and taxing like exercising!
Truth be told, if it wasn’t for my concern for Jasmine’s health and well being, I’d be smack dab in the middle of one of my fluffy cushions rather than walking her around the neighborhood. It’s simple–we both don’t like walks. I hate exercising. I always have, with the exception of some cardio/aerobic/dance classes that are more fun than exercise. Otherwise, I find exercising tremendously tedious, boring and a pain in the rear (literally and figuratively). I’d rather be a couch potato. So would Jasmine.
When I got Jasmine, I knew that the responsibilities would make me do things I don’t like to do. I walk Jasmine to help socialize her and because she needs the exercise to stay healthy. That it benefits MY health is a bonus. That we both DON’T like it…well, I know that it’s my responsibility as a dog owner to do whatever I can to give her a healthy, happy life. So, daily walks are going to be in the cards for a long, long time.
I DO like walks when my husband is along with us. He and I get to spend time together, stroll, enjoy the day and talk. It’s a nice way to just be together without the hustle and bustle of daily life. 🙂
I walk Jasmine every day, and more often than not, I run across irresponsible dog owners. Let’s see…
- There’s the giant piles of dog poop on someone’s lawn or on the sidewalk, which means the owners didn’t think it was necessary to pick up after their dogs or the dogs were running free in the neighborhood.
- There’s the dog owner that walks the dog off leash, making this a hazard not only for other people but for the dog (squirrel + off-leash walking in a busy neighborhood + SUV = squished dog).
- There are the dog owners who believe that the “no dogs allowed” sign at the local schools don’t apply to them. They’re probably the same dog owners who caused the signs to be placed there in the first place (no, I never see them with poop bags).
- There are the dogs that have come running full boar at Jasmine because their owners don’t think it’s necessary to control–or even collar–them when they are in their unfenced, open front yards. The owners come running after their dogs and then make some lame excuse like, “oh he’s just a puppy and he wants to play.” Am I supposed to read his puppy mind and think that he doesn’t mean harm to me or my dog? And what if MY dog isn’t up to having a 100 pound dog pounce on her? Hm? And is it okay to let your dog go running across the street at his whim? What if a car was driving down the street?
It’s this last scenario that has caused me to rant today. Some huge lug of a golden retriever came barreling across the street and jumped on Jasmine. The owner’s kids were in the yard, saw what was happening and did nothing except stand there, mouths hanging open. I screamed at them to come get their dog, and they did nothing. After screaming at them again while trying to fend off the somewhat harmless yet way too enthusiastic dog, the owner came running over and said, “sorry, he’s just a puppy.” I calmly (yes, calmly) stated that regardless, they needed to have the dog leashed while out, it was dangerous to have the dog loose, and their dog scared the crap out of mine. Poor Jasmine. She was really freaked out.
The dog had NO collar or tags. The owner obviously had NO verbal control over the dog. So, if the dog ran away, well, too bad…he’s just a puppy, right? For crying out loud, people, you have big brains and reasoning. Use them. I guess if your kid went running after something across the street without looking you’d have no problem with that too? And if the dog got run over because you didn’t have the sense to keep them safe, would that be okay? No, I didn’t think so.
Okay, rant off. Jasmine is okay–this time.
Jasmine has resumed taking walkies with me. What changed? I did.
I’ve been preparing for some upcoming business trips, and in that preparation, I asked our pet sitter to come over to meet Jasmine (she had been taking care of our bird, Click, during our vacations but had never met Jasmine). She came in and made some progress in getting acquainted with Jasmine. During that time, I explained to her about Jasmine’s life, how she came to us, and how she is today. I also expressed my frustration with Jasmine’s refusal to walk with me.
She chuckled at me and told me exactly what my husband told me: Jasmine was playing me. She knew she could get away with the refusal, so she’s been doing it.
I’ve been reading a lot of conflicting advice from dog experts on how to deal with fear-based behavior. I’ve also been reading about “pack” behavior and the whole “pack leader” debate. The pet sitter told me that I have to calmly but firmly go on a walk with Jasmine and not let her refuse. So I did. The beginning was a bit of a struggle…she tried to pull back and sit. But I kept walking. She quickly acquiesced, and before I knew it, we were off on a healthy and happy walk. I DID NOT try to bribe her, I DID NOT “correct her” with sharp tugs on her collar (I hate seeing that)…I just kept walking like it was the most natural thing to do. And she followed. The next day, she struggled a bit less. The third day, she hesitated for a moment and then came trotting along.
I’m thrilled that she’s once again my walking companion and that she’s moving forward. Now if only we could make the same strides in her acceptance of my husband (we’ve made no forward movement since her first olive branch), I think she’d be a much happier dog. Her “badger dog” burrowing has already turned into a way for her to hide from my husband. I’m hoping that my upcoming absence will help her forge a bond with him. If not, he’ll be using the GIANT bottle of Nature’s Miracle quite often.
Jasmine still refuses to go for walks with me. It’s so sad. We go outside, and she immediately gets into the “oh no, you’re not making me go” posture. She sits her little butt down, and actually pulls BACK on the leash with her neck. I’ve coaxed her out of the position with her little training treats (she’s not so frightened that she turns down treats), and she readily walks to the treat to eat it. However, any forward movement by me and she’s back to the “oh no” posture. If it wasn’t so sad it would be funny.
The times she HAS gone for walks with me in the past few weeks have been due to the “lesser of two evils” circumstances. She’s still afraid of my husband, so if he appears to be approaching us, she’ll go on the walk. If something scares her, say a branch touching her from a bush she’s walking under, she’ll shoot out and go for a walk. Once she’s walking, she doesn’t seem to mind it. But there’s some sort of mental block right now that keeps her from getting started on a walk with me. I’m not scarier than the walk? The walk and I are forever connected to the trauma of meeting the neighbor’s doxies?
My husband and I now take her for evening walks together. She’s fine once she gets going. We’ve taught her to sit at every curb and wait until we release her from the sit. She seems to enjoy the walks somewhat, but I sense her unease and fear of the unknown–cocked ears, kind of hunched shoulders (sometimes slinking). I know she loves our house and feels safe and comfortable in it, and I’m glad I have been able to give her that sense of comfort and well-being. I just hope that in time, she’ll be able to move beyond these fears and be as happy out in the world as she is at home.
Okay, I don’t get this one.
Jasmine loves Walkies. At least, she used to. She has refused to go for a walk for two days in a row. She cowers at the end of the driveway, sits her little butt down, and won’t go. I coax her along with a little Pupperoni, but she stops and sits again. Shiver shiver, droopy eyes, totally freaked. She turns around and RUNS to the house.
Is it that she’s now afraid of the dachshunds down the street? Whenever they are out, she wants to go inside. Is it due to the two earthquakes we had recently? She barked during the 5.6, but didn’t even notice the 3.6.
I don’t get this at all. I’m totally puzzled.