I have never been a great lover of jig-saw puzzles. I have done quite a few in my time but, putting so much time into a project and then destroying it afterwards, it does seem to have a rather pointless flavor to it. Now imagine getting started on a jig-saw puzzle and, just when you believe that it is all coming together… a part of the picture changes!!! Welcome to life with Ray!
When walking Ray, there are a number of aspects which we acknowledge. Primarily, he is very good on a 6ft leash (local By-Law). The leash will remain quite loose unless he sees a cat. Even with squirrels, which used to arouse him, he will generally just watch and then look up for a possible treat!
If he believes that he is going to a place that has treats, then he will get excited and start pulling as we get closer (we use words like “Lululemon” and “the bank” with discretion!)
We have also found out that he responds very well to knowing where we are going. Mystery walks are really not on his agenda and, if he does not know where we are going, he will drop to a painfully slow walk, and even just stop occasionally and look at us. “Mailbox buddy” gives him the information he needs and off we go again… as long as it is to the mailbox! You may have noticed an immediate issue here. He needs to know where we are going, but we don’t want him pulling on the leash!
This is starting to get complicated because whereas Ray has, in the past, shown little interest in the various dog bowls of water that stores have been putting out this Summer, the rules appear to have changed. In the past, he would approach a bowl of water only to check it out and would usually pass it by (he is used to cold, fresh and filtered water at home!). This past week however, that Shepherd/Rotti brain of his appeared to have a revelation. Lululemon has a water bowl and biscuits, so perhaps other stores with water bowls will have biscuits!
We had a recent walk downtown which had to include “the bank” (2 large biscuits for Ray), and then we decided to take Ray to Lululemon (just because we love him), and he had a few pieces of biscuit there. We turned to head for home fully expecting Ray to be cooperative as he had visited his two favorite places but he took a turn into the doorway of a man’s clothing store (they had a water bowl outside!) There was no possible way that we were going in there so we coerced him back onto our route. His next target was another fashion store, and then a small store selling various packaged foods. When he tried to go into a real estate office, we suddenly knew what was happening as they all had water bowls outside!
So now we know that Ray likes all stores that have water bowls outside, regardless of the condition of the water; we know that he is much more cooperative when he knows where we are going; we know that he understands important place names like “Lululemon”, “The Bank”, “‘The Mailbox”, “Pizza Place”, “Humane Society”, “Home buddy” and “Let’s go see Heather”; we know that he is likely pull on his leash when he gets fixated on his “target”, but what we didn’t know until the other day was ……… well let’s just say that the picture in the jig-saw puzzle changed a little once more. A Post for tomorrow!