Teaching a Pup to Rain Walk
Teaching a puppy to walk on a leash is truly an art form. Sometimes he is running between my legs or wrapping around them the leash! The next moment he has come to a complete stop, four legs braced and fixed onto the pathway and not moving at all. Then again, we are way out front with tail high, stocking the world.
I am not big on allowing the pup to smell and sniff along the way, but he is still too small for the HALTI, training collar so I am a bit more relaxed.
So far we have only had one accident on a walk; he does his pooh in the dog run out the laundry room door. He rings a bell at the top of the first flight of stairs to let me know he needs to go, and then he rings a bell at the laundry room door to say “let me out”. I can hear him from the computer or upstairs and we are not having any accidents with this system. (No door damage and no confusion about what a bark might mean.)
This week he has started ringing the top bell to tell me he is ready for our walk; at 9 am and at 3 pm – almost by the clock. He added this ringing all by himself.
We have had several weeks of sunshine, heavy fog, or misty showers and the temperature has been very moderate this winter. The heavy rains and downpours have returned and puppy walking has taken on some new challenges. I cannot carry an umbrella but have found my good hooded rain jacket with a baseball cap underneath keeps my glasses clear and we have ventured forth. We are up to 2 miles in about 45 minutes – one mile up hill and one mile downhill.
Yesterday it was a constant downpour of rain and at nearly every street corner we would start to cross and little legs would stop the action. I would have to move back, pick him up and carry him across each intersection. I cut two blocks out of the route and doubled back on a quieter street. We were nearly run over by a car in a hurry which surprised us with a big splash of gutter water; I grabbed the pup and jumped into a neighbor’s garden bed.
I was thinking up the most dramatic curse I could hurl at the disappearing car, I am very slow at having the right responses, when both pup and I saw it and turned our focus to another direction.
Not even out of January and there it was the first crocus to bless our vision. Yes, we have winter crocus but this was a spring gem. It was a lovely surprise and elegant amidst the crimson clover cover crop.
How could we let anger block our vision of this new? Puppy leaned in for a sniff and then satisfied we headed home to dance the warm towel dry off.
Have you ever taught a puppy to go for a walk? How about a toddler or child? Did you find just the right surprise waiting for you there? Are you a rain walker?