When the three of us are out walking, Ray will often try and impact whatever route decisions need to be made and, in many cases, we let him. The walk is, after all, designed around his needs and if it wasn’t for Ray, would we be out walking this regularly? We do, however, sometimes have an agenda of our own which we fit in with Ray’s walk as best we can.
He has a number of strategies designed to force his input into the route planning, the most common of which is to simply stop and stand there looking at us. It would appear that some form of mental telepathy is supposed to be in progress at that time which will make us realize exactly where we are really supposed to be going!
A variation on that is to simply pull in the direction that he thinks that we should go. Sometimes he uses both! This would happen as we approach a place of interest (to him) but we are on the wrong side of the road. He may stop first to make his displeasure known, but then concede because we are probably going to cross the road soon to go there. When he realizes that we are not going to cross, he will pull quite hard diagonally in an effort to cross the road. (As an aside, he has no concept of traffic and the danger it can present!).
His final attempt at influencing us is by sitting down! A sitting Ray is quite a challenge and, short of bribing him with treats (not a chance!), what else can we do? We are not going to reward the behavior because we would be giving him the wrong message. (“I fancy some treats so I’ll just park my 75lbs here and wait!”).
The solution was to capitalize on his attachment to both of us. If he stopped and/or parked his rear on the sidewalk, one of us would just walk on ahead (Plan A) and eventually he would give up and get everybody back together again.
Earlier this week we were both out with Ray and Carol was holding his leash. We were heading for a store, as we needed a few supplies, and across the other side of our road was a strip mall which included Bark & Fitz (pet supplies). As soon as Ray realized that we were not going to cross the road to Bark & Fitz, he put the brakes on and just stood there.
I immediately started walking away from them and towards the store that we needed to visit. Glancing back at intervals, I was quite surprised at how far Ray was letting me go without him moving. A minute or two later I glanced back again and Ray was still standing there! There was a building very close to me that had a side access so I quickly turned there (Plan B) and was therefore out of sight of Ray. It wasn’t long before he trotted by with Carol in tow!
I guess we have a pretty foolproof plan for getting through these obstacles, but what happens if his desire to visit a pet store, or Lululemon, or TD Bank, or any one of a number of other places, is greater than his desire for his “pack” to be together? What happens when treats become more important than loyalty? We are going to need a Plan C!