Carol and I took Ray out for a walk the other evening, but this time we needed to go over the road to give a neighbour a thank you card and book for allowing us to park on her driveway while ours was having a make-over! Ray has ongoing issues with people he does not know very well, the reasons for which can only be speculated upon however, we are working on it and he is responding quite well to the concept that people = treats.
He will now “touch” on request in order to get his treat however, we still have to watch him as he can become impatient and revert to less appropriate methods of getting attention.
We handed over the card, and book, and briefly chatted (all the while watching Ray and providing treats as necessary). Our neighbour is a dog lover and happily offered him some treats after which we bid our farewell and let Ray pick his route for the walk. Letting him pick his route was our plan but, instead, he chose to pick a place to stand still which was on the sidewalk in front of the neighbour’s house.
This is not an unusual situation and Plan A is to simply wait. Usually after a few minutes (which always seem like forever) he will decide to continue. In the event that Plan A gets no reaction, Plan B is for one of us to go ahead until out of sight. Ray was showing no inclination to go anywhere so Plan B came into effect and, as Carol was holding his leash, I decided to go on ahead and hide just around the corner at the next intersection. As expected, he was trotting up to me within a minute or two and we continued on our way.
Ray had made a left turn to find me, after which he made another left turn. We dutifully followed and were both wondering where he was going as this was contrary to his usual choice of routes. At the end of the road he turned left again (he must be heading for the park), and shortly after made another left turn. This brought him back onto the street where we live! He crossed over to the sidewalk on our side of the street until he reached our driveway, and then immediately crossed over to the neighbour’s house. His goal was clearly to get back to that front door (“Perhaps that nice lady will give me more treats?”).
Sometimes Ray just has to be reminded that regardless of what he would like, we are ultimately in control, and consequently he was pulled past the house whereupon he quickly picked up the pace and, once again, turned left. This time he would no doubt pick a route which would take him to one of his favourite stores however, much to our surprise, he simply turned left again and repeated his previous route. This of course put him back onto our street and, after another unsuccessful attempt to reach the neighbour’s house, he decided to head for our driveway and go home!
He certainly is a bit of a free spirit and, while he is generally very amiable and cooperative, every now and then we see a side of him that reminds us that he does have a mind of his own and is not afraid to show it.