Last night I got home and took Hamlet for a walk. I planned to take him on a nice, long walk and explore more of the Cherry Creek Path, which runs right across the street from our apartment complex. So far we’ve only walked it for about 30 minutes and I wanted to do more. I thought Ham would be on board since he’d been cooped up all day and he is always eager for more walking (or pulling, as he lately likes to do on the leash).
I was ready for a casual walk, as exhibited by my wearing flip flops. The trail is wide, flat and paved – prime real estate for joggers, cyclists, and walkers (with dogs or without) – so is easily traversed in flops. Hamlet was his usual self, so excited at the myriad of smells as well as the other people (on bikes! in strollers! on rollerblades!) and dogs (big ones! small ones! spotted ones!) that he was pulling against his harness. A quick tangent so that I may point out that when we first got him he was an exemplary leash walker; he did not pull on the leash and would wait for you if you fell behind or would catch up quickly if you got ahead. I thought we had lucked out with the best dig ever – one that already knew how to heel. Now, however, times have changed. I think Hamlet has realized that we’re here to stay so is more comfortable with us and more comfortable revealing his typical dog behavior. So while his leash pulling isn’t horrendous (thank goodness I’m not being dragged this way and that), it can be somewhat annoying. Yes, go ahead and mock me – I have a 20 pound Boston Terrier that I struggle to keep up with. If you experienced it for yourself, you’d understand that he’s quite exuberant!
We had been walking for about ten minutes when the sky darkened a little and it threatened rain. We’ve been getting quite a lot of rain in Denver this summer so I forged ahead, thinking it would be ten or so minutes of drizzle followed by clear skies (as is commonplace in Colorado). The trail seemed to clear out rather quickly – what a bunch of babies afraid of a little rain. I’m sure you can see where this is going. Sure enough, what I thought would be drizzle was more like a good downpour and while I knew that Hamlet wasn’t very fond of thunder, I didn’t know he was against storms in general. After a few minutes, I decided it would be best to turn back and as soon as I switched directions Hamlet started pulling full force against the leash. I could practically hear him say, “I’ve had enough of this! We’re outta here!” He was pulling so hard, trying to go faster that I thought I would trot so that he wouldn’t have to pull against the leash. As soon as I quickened my pace, he would do the same until we were in an all out run. Keep in mind I was wearing rubber flip flops that by now were quite slippery – the perfect footwear for running with a wily Boston Terrier in the rain.
Finally I stopped so that Hamlet had to stop too. He did a few all over dog shakes, as if to say, “you’re really messing up my plan!” (Am I turning into one of those crazy people who thinks that her dog can talk?) I picked him up and held him in my arms and walked the next twenty or so yards to calm him down. Hamlet seemed comfortable in my arms and I consoled my embarassment with the fact that a few days before I had seen a girl carrying her Pug in the same way because it was too tired to continue walking. Hamlet made the final stretch walking on the ground and couldn’t have been happier to be cooped back up in the apartment. I toweled him off, changed into dry clothes and organized more of the apartment while Hamlet burrowed under his blanket.
So far I have thunder, fireworks, and storms on Hamlet’s list of nos. What is your dog afraid of? How do you handle it?