Thursday, April 20, 2017

How to Walk Four Dogs in 33 Easy Steps

How to walk your dog in 33 easy steps

I've taken to watching an episode or two of The Dog Whisperer on Saturday mornings. Because, you know, we have four and they don't respond all that well to our commands - whispered or otherwise.

The problem is that we don't treat them like dogs. They're more like noisy, messy roommates.

So the other day when I was taking two of my roomies out for a walk, I decided to try ole' Cesar's method of using body language to adjust their behavior. Specifically, pulling back on their leashes to keep them from gallumphing off ahead of me, like they always do.

That picture up there is Lucy, who gallumphed herself into getting wrapped around a pole, which happens frequently.

Cesar's method wasn't working very well, but it was really hard to try to train both dogs at the same time. I decided to scrap the plan for the moment and try it another time with them, one at a time.

And that's when I realized which of Mama Kat's writing prompts I would tackle this week. Write a post inspired by the word "incomplete".

Incomplete. That pretty much sums up our dog training regime.

To illustrate, below is a narration of one of our walk adventures. (You can read more adventures in dog walking here and here, by the way.) I posted it on my personal Facebook page a few months ago and since it fits, I'm reposting it here.

For those of you who read my personal blatherings and my blog blatherings - sorry for the rerun. But at least in this post, you get the benefit of a picture so you can see who each culprit is.

An example of our incomplete dog training (alternate title: How to Walk 4 Dogs in 33 Easy Steps):

Step 1: Gather the dog leashes and harnesses which are in a big tangled mess from the last time you walked the dogs.

Step 2: Untangle the mess while tripping over the dogs as they jump, spin, run, and bark around you, because they know they're going for a walk.

Step 3: Try to put the harness on dog 1 (who is offended by leashes and harnesses).

Step 4: Study the harness while turning it over in your hands for 5 minutes, trying to remember how the hell it goes on the dog.

Step 5: Go find dog 1 who has, by now, run and hid from the harness.

Step 6: Try again to put the harness on dog 1, who has decided to lay down.

Step 7: Realize the harness is too small.

Step 8: Take the harness off and adjust it.

Step 9: Go find dog 1 who has run and hid again.

Step 10: Repeat steps 6 - 9 twice more, then give up on dog 1 for now and decide to walk dog 1 and 4 together, after walking dogs 2 and 3.

Step 11: Put different harness and leash on dog 2, who is generally cooperative.

Step 12: Quickly grab dog 3, who is always excited to go on a walk but likes to play "catch me if you can" when it comes time to put his harness and leash on.

Step 13: Praise yourself because you bought him a new, easy harness and he's leashed and ready in a few seconds.

Step 14: Curse yourself because you still have to get your shoes and jacket on, find your keys and phone, and grab some poop bags, all while holding the leash of dog 3 because as soon as you let go, he'll want to play "catch me if you can" again.

Step 15: Finally ready, try to get out the door with dogs 2 and 3 (who keep walking back and forth in front of you and tangling up their leashes), while explaining to dog 4 that she has to stay behind and wait her turn.

Step 16: Regain your balance as dogs 2 and 3 struggle to be the first out the door.

Step 17: Watch leashless dog 4 squeeze past you and run out the door to the end of the driveway. Make repeated, frenzied, and eventually menacing, commands for her to come back.

Step 18: Curse under your breath as she completely ignores you.

Step 19: Put dog 2 back in the house.

Step 20: Walk to the end of the driveway with dog 3 in tow, so you can grab dog 4 and put her back in the house.

Step 21: Watch dog 4 begin to run into the street.

Step 22: Begin to chase dog 4, yelling at her because a car is coming.

Step 23: Grab dog 4 and toss her back into the house, yelling at her to "stay", and call dog 2 to come outside (this may take a few minutes as dog 2 tries to figure out who the heck you want to "come" and who has to "stay").

Step 24: Walk around the block with dogs 2 and 3.

Step 25: Get almost home, then watch as dog 2 takes a large dump in your next door neighbor's front yard, getting dog poo all over the leash because (once again) it is tangled around her.

Step 26: Try to keep the dog poo part of the leash off dog 2 and yourself, keep a grip on the leash of dog 3, and scoop up the poop, all at the same time.

Step 27: Curse under your breath and pray your neighbor isn't watching out the window.

Step 28: Bring dogs 2 and 3 in the house.

Step 29: Wipe dog 2 down with doggie wipes, in case any poo got on her. Throw the dog poo bag in the outside trash, and wash the dog leash.

Step 30: Give up on walking dog 1 at all because by now, you're in no mood to struggle with the damn harness. Put the leash on dog 4.

Step 31: Curse as dog 4 runs around the coffee table leg twice and you have to untangle her.

Step 32: Walk dog 4 to the corner and back.

Step 33: Throw all the leashes and harnesses back in the closet, in a big tangled mess.

I don't know what Cesar Millan would think if he came over for a visit. Between their walk behavior, entitled attitudes, and complete disregard for orders, our dogs could easily be the stars of The Dog Whisperer: What the Hell Happened Here?? edition.

Oh well. Add it to the list of things to work on.


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