Monday, September 28, 2009

Biggie's Rules for Happy Walkies

We had a Most Unfortunate Incident last month with P-Daddy and Little Gramma, in which I reminded P-Daddy that he has to make sure he follows the Rules for Happy Walkies. P-Daddy and his momma took me for a walkie in BrrrMont and then something happened so that when I got home I had to run all the way to my crate in the dark bedroom and lie there for a few hours because I was very very sorry. Momma didn't even know I came home. (Momma didn't know that I went out with P-Daddy and Little Grandma, either.) Anyways. P-Daddy did some meditating and he helped me type out some Rules:

Biggies is not a human
I may be smart, but I'm still a dog. I respond to commands and leadership. Don't reason, cajole or try bribery. I will take your treats and do what I want if you act like you are not sure what you want. Don't ask, but TELL. If you ask me to do something, it's like you're asking me what I think. And I think I want to PLAY right now, even if Gramma is holding my leash and I want to play with P-Daddy, because I LOVE P-Daddy and Gramma and wouldn't it me so much fun if all 3 of us played together?

Little people and old people can be really wobbly sometimes

And if they're little and old, they can sometimes just fall down if you so much as wag your tail in their direction. So sometimes you have to be very very careful to be very very gentle. Getting all the way down on the ground helps.

Observe proper leash technique at all times!!
Here is cousin Ava demonstrating Proper Leash Technique. I probably weighed more than she did in that picture, but she was pretty good at holding me BECAUSE SHE TALKED TO ME and told me what to do, she didn't just pull me around. And look especially at how she is holding the leash. If I pulled too hard, what would happen? I'd just yank the leash out of her hand but she'd probably be ok. She has one hand holding the loop, and the other one picking up the slack in the leash. So if I'm just pulling a little bit, she can use her right hand and give a little tug to tell me where to go.

Very important: Ava did not wrap the leash around her hands or anything to keep me from getting away. DON'T EVER DO THAT! Dogs are really strong. Momma and P-Daddy met a lady whose Golden Girl broke 2 bones in her hand because the Golden Girl went after a squirrel. And that was a teeny little golden girl who was only 50 pounds or so! Most dogs, even the most senseless silly ones, have enough sense to not get hit by a car the moment they get free. Or at least all the yelling if you have a loose dog will usually get everyone's attention and they will then all play chase or something. But that is all better than the risk of a human getting pulled into traffic or getting hurt because they were stuck in their dog's leash.

I'm not saying I did anything quite like that to Little Gramma, but let's just say that P-Daddy learned that he doesn't just hand my leash over to someone who doesn't know how to walk a dog any more. And I don't think Little Gramma will be walking me any more, but that's ok because she's so wobbly it's probably better that way. And she's never going to wrap the leash around her hand again. Until the next time she forgets.

Seriously, people: if you have a large or rambunctious dog, it doesn't take much for the dog to overwhelm the person. I've almost been knocked down by a 40-pound dog who was barreling at me, because I wasn't looking and I was off-balance. People who aren't used to being around dogs of any heft are not usually of this. Small people CAN walk large dogs, but as the dog owner, you have to be careful to make sure the person and the dog are on the same wavelength and that they are understanding each other.