12 February 2007

Teka's Twenty Tips (Rules) for Walkies!

Gussie is snoozing under the desk at muzzer's feet, so I am taking over the keyboard to share my experience in owner training.

Walkies are a critical part of my day. I am a Jack Russell Terrier, so I need lots of exercise and stimulation! Keeps me hoppin' all day.

So, for those of you who think it is great to go for walkies anytime, anywhere, anyhow, but are unable to control your owners at the other end of the leash, I am posting my helpful hints.

1. Morning Walkies do not count if they begin any later than 6:15 am. Be firm. Be strong. Be a pest. But get them out of their warm beds and moving as early as possible. Be steadfast. Do not give in. Do not think of your own comfort on cold mornings. It is your RESPONSIBILITY to make sure that they get sufficient exercise.

2. Do your stretches before you begin waking them up. Once they are out of bed, your attention should be focused on keeping them moving so that they do not backslide into bed. I recommend you start with downward facing dog progressing to child's pose, then on to snake and cobra. Repeat this combination at least three times before you begin the wake up call.

3. Try to make sure that the human is appropriately dressed. Morning walkies can be ruined by a human who is "cold" or who forgets to bring gloves. They tend to whine loudly, which can be distracting. Also, discourage them from trying to get by with their pajamas and a heavy sweater. This can be downright embarrassing to the gently raised dog.

4. Leashes must be firmly attached. I try to make sure that the leash is over the wrist bone, preferably wrapped around the extended hand at least one time for better control. Remember, this is not for your pleasure. The only reason to sacrifice your sleep time is to make sure that your human fully understands who is in charge.

5. Make sure the human has sufficient plastic bags for poop patrol, and has the key to the door attached to a lanyard around her/his neck. This keeps him/her from dropping the key while doing poop patrol, and will allow you to return to the house or apartment when YOU decide it is time.

6. Poop early. Poop often. This provides the human with an opportunity to encase his/her hand in a plastic bag, bend from the waist, extend the hand not engaged with the leash, and retrieve waste products with a sweeping motion.

7. Pee early. Pee often. This gives the human an opportunity to catch his/her breath. It also establishes your territory, and helps you learn bladder control for those times when you want to make a really big puddle (preferably IN the house and ON the carpet!)

8. Sniff early. Sniff often. Do not allow the human to hurry you along or interrupt your olfactory explorations. Remember. You are in charge of the walk.

9. Change the route regularly. Give yourself extra points for every new dog you get to bark at you, and two points for each cat you lunge at without truly making an effort to catch it. Catching cats can give you negative points, or get your nose scratched.

10. Refuse to respect traffic control devices. Do not stop for the red light. Do not wait for the walkie sign to come on. Lunge forward at each opportunity. Your human should react by pulling back on the lead to keep you from getting injured. Be sure you do not attempt this until your human is at least partially trained. If your human does not react quickly enough, he/she may be injured in the attempt to save your life.

11. Do not walk in a straight line. Anywhere. Anytime. You increase your control AND the exercise you provide your human companion by zigzagging from side to side, running in circles around the human companion, tightening the leash around knees or ankles, and at least once during the walk, making a 180 degree turn counterclockwise and leaping into his/her waiting arms.

12. Bark and lunge at other dogs also on walkies, but be careful of those whose humans are not attached to leashes. These dogs and humans tend to be less predictable than teams where the humans are well controlled.

13. Stop and Start when you want to. It is most effective to stop very quickly. If you do this correctly, you will jerk the lead when the human walks past you, and thereby make them stop! In certain circumstances, you can pull the human off of their two feet by making a really quick start! My beloved Travis is very effective at this. He weighs over 120 lbs, so he has something of an advantage. I have never been able to accomplish this. sigh.

14. If your human stops to greet a friend or neighbor, or read a post about a lost dog or child, immediately establish your dominance by pulling on the leash. Do not sit! Do not down! Yip around the ankles (a most tender spot) and whine.

15. If you have the opportunity to pass an eating establishment such as Dunkin Donuts, Mc Donald's, Burger King or the like, veer toward it and pull with all your might. The human should follow you and then find a sympathetic stranger to accept cash in return for purchasing a food item for you to share with the human. note: you must be the one to select the messenger human, as their sense of who among them is trustworthy is not always the best. Some food establishments have drive up windows. Do not hesitate to get in line with the cars and resist any blandishments or threats to remove you. The guy at the window will be happy to take your money. He doesn't care if you are an SUV or a JRT!

16. Do not allow stops at Starbucks. You could end up tied to a table and vulnerable to insults, and your human may only get a DRINK! Humans also tend to be very stingy with the whipped cream.

18. Do not adjust your chosen route because the human whines.

19. Return home only when you are ready.

20. Breakfast must be served immediately upon returning home. No bathroom breaks for the human until the dog food is in the bowl and available to the dog.

See, isn't that easy. Try this for twenty days and I guarantee you will be a happier, healthier dog. And your humans will thank you.



Joe Stains said...

you need to talk to my lazy parents! they dont get out of bed until 7am!!!

Nat said...

We're out by 6:20 AM... err, well 6:25 AM. Pappy's totally down with rules 8 through 13. The remainder he delegates to me.