Ray’s walks have typically been a compromise between where we have to go, and where he wants to go.
To be totally honest, compromise is the wrong term to use because if we have to go somewhere, and given that we cannot leave Ray behind, he simply has to go with us. He does however still have input into the route we take, which may or may not include a significant detour, so his desires are considered!
He follows instructions quite well and will “Heel” readily as long as there are no rabbits, squirrels or cats around to distract him. He responds to “Wait!” at road crossings, as long as there are no rabbits, squirrels or cats around to distract him, and Carol has taught him “Left”, “Right”, “Forward” and “Back” which he generally responds very well to, unless there are rabbits, squirrels or cats around to distract him!
It is interesting that sometimes Ray is bouncing along beside us with a real spring in his step while, at other times, he seems rather less than enthusiastic. Of course there could be numerous potential explanations but we have noticed that when he realizes that we are heading in the direction of one of “his” places (i.e. Lululemon), he would display significantly more enthusiasm. This is logical and we could understand his reaction.
Recently, our mail system was changed so that instead of getting deliveries to our home, we now had to go to a centralized mailbox to pick up any letters etc. We started checking our box as we were returned from his walks and so, when Ray made the final routine turn for home, we would have to say “No Ray. We’re going to the mailbox” or “To the mailbox buddy” or variations of the same. Ray became pretty good at this and, eventually, all we had to say was “The mailbox buddy!”, and he would excitedly take us there!
One evening we left home and mentioned Lululemon, and he immediately started off in the appropriate direction. We repeated the exercise over the next few days by telling him “Fortinos”, or “The bank”, or “Go see Heather” and he got that little spring in his gait and off he went. It appears that he does not need to be steered around the streets anymore. We just have to tell him the destination and he gets very excited and takes us there………. as long as there are no rabbits, squirrels or cats around to distract him!