Dog Walk

The "Happy Puppy" face comes through even in the Hipstamatic blur effect

The “Happy Puppy” face comes through even in the Hipstamatic blur effect

I discovered something about my dog last weekend.  At least I think I did.  I’ve always suspected he thinks he’s walking me when we go for our spins around the park.  He has good reason to believe this.  I take the approach that as a dog with no yard, his walks should simulate the experience of wandering around the yard amusing himself.

An urban dog's lot in life is to enjoy the outdoors while attached to his people

An urban dog’s lot in life is to enjoy the outdoors while attached to his people

Instead of expecting him to heel, I let him pick where he wants to wander within reason.  If he meanders off the sidewalk and into the grass because he’s suddenly caught a really good scent, I follow.

Is it time to go?  Are we going?  Now?  Now?

Is it time to go? Are we going? Now? Now?

If I get impatient, I whistle to him and say, “Let’s go this way,” in my high, happy puppy voice and move my body in a way that suggests play.  I hope no one has ever caught this on video.  Usually, he will come with me.

But when an urban dog is at home, life can be pretty luxurious

But when an urban dog is at home, life can be pretty luxurious

Interestingly, he rarely pulls on the lead.  When we’re in motion, we walk together like he’s been expertly trained.  The lead hangs so loose, I have to loop it to keep it from dragging and tripping one of us.  He walks at my side content until the next great scent piques his interest.

So, while on the one hand, he could have the impression that he is walking me, on the other hand, he stays with me nicely much of the time.  It’s a win-win and I’ve never really worried much about it–he and I seem equally content in our style of walking together.

Cuddling in a blanket next to Mommy seems to be the highlight of the day

Cuddling in a blanket next to Mommy seems to be the highlight of the day

When we went for our little hikes in the Prentice Cooper State Forest this past weekend, we let Tisen off his leash when we were on trails where we were unlikely to run into anyone and far from ATVs.  Because Tisen is the kind of dog that wants to have his people in sight all the time, we don’t have to worry about him running off (unlike an Akita we once fostered who seemed to think he needed to run 10 miles a day and that being let of the leash was an invitation to go do so).

Hey!  Where'd everyone go?

Hey! Where’d everyone go?

Tisen sometimes gets lost in a scent.  He forgets where he is, who he’s with, and goes blind as all of his brain becomes occupied with deciphering what message was left for him.  When we hike, we just keep going, figuring he’ll catch up after a bit.  If he doesn’t show up before we get very far, we call him.  Then, he usually panics and comes galloping back to us like he’s just had the daylights scared out of him.

The blanket is supposed to protect the sofa from Tisen--a point he seems to have missed

The blanket is supposed to protect the sofa from Tisen–a point he seems to have missed

This isn’t new behavior.  But, for the first time it dawned on me that he’s shocked to realize we can get away.  He forgets we’re not on a leash.  He expects to look up and find us standing next to him, waiting for him to finish.  I feel certain his panic is proof that he really does think he’s walking us.

This photo may be blurry, but it still cracks me up--Tisen is so determined to hide his face, he sticks his head in the crook of Daddy's arm

This photo may be blurry, but it still cracks me up–Tisen is so determined to hide his face, he sticks his head in the crook of Daddy’s arm

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One response to “Dog Walk

  1. I have always had the mindset that I want my dog to enjoy her life is much as possible within reason. I want her to be free to just be a dog. I have never tried to “train” her to do tricks or anything. She is just a really good dog and that is all I ask for. I respect her want to explore life as well as any person. It is amazing how wonderful a humans relationship with their dog can be if they just treat their dog like a human being lol! Very cute pics of Tison! I am sure any other dog would be so jealous of the life that he gets to live with you guys 😉

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