Winston, our 13-week old Boxer-mutt pup, refuses to go on a walk with me today. Instead he sits smugly in his brand new harness, looking at me over his immobile shoulder while he basks in the sunshine and 76 degree weather.
Don’t get me wrong. I also love to bask in sunlight – but his refusal to budge stirs within me a deep fear that when we get home, I will lapse into a two second post-work vegetative state. And that my short-lived emptyheadedness will give him the opportunity to run to a spot, just out of sight, where he will poop on the carpet.
So with short doggy-horror films playing out in my head, I plead with him, using my nice voice, “Come on, Win! Come on, pup!”
I crouch down low to get his attention and call his name soothingly. Still nothing.
Hmph… Now I must fight the urge to tug his leash with such force that I knock him off his feet so I can drag him behind me while I continue my walk. (Hey, I’m just being honest).
I’ve just read a “How To” article about teaching a puppy how to walk nicely on his leash. Instead of yanking him off his firmly planted tush, I must be very patient. I must not tug. Nor shout. Nor growl or pull. I must simply stop when he pulls and coax when he stays. I need to make him see that walking with me is more fun than disobeying me. I tried the technique this weekend and it worked wonderfully!
But this weekend, I did not have a full day’s work with a mountain of tasks to climb under my belt by the time we went to take our walk. I was not overtired… On the weekend, I had patience.
I crouched there for what seemed like days! In all likelihood, it was probably less than 60 seconds. And then… I hate to admit it, but I tugged. And he lowered himself. And I growled at him, telling him between my clenched teeth, “You are making it very hard to train you properly today! I have no patience for you!”
And he hunkered down further, spreading his limbs out as if growing roots into the ground. And I started to walk away, feeling a heavy mass lag begrudgingly behind me.
I take him home, remove his harness, and watch him as he proceeds to bounce and jump and leap and sprint around the house.
You win, sir. You win.