The Ray Puzzle (cont)

The heat and humidity of our Summer appears to have gone, and all three of us here are feeling a little more energetic as a result. Ray has a lovely “spring” in his gait when the temperature drops! Our current weather, in contrast, has been rather wet and blustery which has been wonderful for the garden, but awkward for walking Ray.

The other day was particularly bad but, according to the weather forecast, we would be having a small “window” of no rain in the late evening. We scheduled our day accordingly and, in the evening when the rain had stopped, we took Ray out for his walk.

It was our intention to take him on a residential route which he knows really well. It is not his favorite route as a result of the lack of stores, but he does get lots of “sniffing time”. The only challenge is getting him onto that route without being diverted to our local stores (namely Fantastico Pizza!).

Time was very much “of the essence” as a result of weather and so, not wishing for any delays, we detoured around some back streets in order to get him onto the intended residential route.

All went well, and we were about halfway round the route when we felt a spot of rain. Looking up, the skies were looking rather anti-social, but we still had some time based on the forecast and the odd drop of water was no deterrent, so we continued. Carol and I were both tuned into what the weather was doing (“Was that another drop of water. I think I felt two drops”), while Ray was nonchalantly sniffing around and leaving his personal messages as he felt necessary!

Things started to look distinctly bad when we were about 15 – 20 minutes from home. The isolated drops of rain were now getting together and were forming a very light drizzle which was showing all the signs of developing into a downpour very soon. Ray continued nonchalantly sniffing around and leaving more personal messages as he felt necessary.

I am a great believer in letting Ray take his time, after all this is his walk and we are just facilitating it. i.e. We are joining him on his walk. He is not joining us on our walk! I also understand that as incredibly amazing as a dog’s sense of smell is, that ability is not without effort on his part and he can get quite tired simply by prolonged sniffing. Take Ray on a long walk, and let him sniff his way around, and he’ll sleep the rest of the day!

We decided that we should really pickup the pace a little and get home before the storm broke but, before we said or did anything, Ray’s leash went tight and he was on a mission! His mission was, surprisingly, our mission! He pretty much pulled us all the way home!

This poses some interestingΒ  questions. I can believe that he would know that a storm was coming from the drop in air temperature, the humidity, and probably air pressure change. I don’t understand why he would head for home, based on that knowledge, when he did rather than a little earlier. Could it be that he knew the storm was coming, and suddenly sensed our concern? Could those two factors together prompt the decision to ignore all future scents and just head for home?

I think we have a jig-saw puzzle that not only has a changing picture, but there are also a few pieces missing which we are slowly finding!


44 thoughts on “The Ray Puzzle (cont)

    • He seems to be indifferent to rains and storms but then, he spent some time as a stray so probably just accepts those conditions. He does however enjoy a nice comfortable place in the warmth inside. πŸ™‚


  1. I wish Mom would remember that walks are MY walks and not HER walks. She is always saying the word, “Let’s go!” and “Hurry up.” and “Stop daydreaming.” and “Don’t eat that cigar butt.” Buzzkill.

    Love and licks,

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    • Oh dear Cupcake! You are going to have to exert yourself a little more. You could start by making sure that your Mom understands that for a walk to be fun for you, you must be allowed to travel at your speed and that it is not a race. Woof! Ray.


  2. Animals are smarter than we know! I believe Ray knew there was a downpour on its way!
    It’s great that you give Ray those walks and it’s great that he is able to get out what he needs so he can sleep peacefully for the rest of the day. I watch Cesar Milan and he talks about how a lot of dogs that have behavior issues can be simply due to pent up energy, nervousness, etc. and if they get appropriate exercise everyday they will release that and be much calmer. I totally believe this! So good for you, good for Ray! πŸ™‚

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        • We have not met a certified trainer yet who does. Most people seem to know CM from his first book and subsequent tv program, which he admits is misleading (in a later book). He admits that there is no scientific basis behind his methods… but they work, and he is correct. Domination techniques do work. In his later book he does acknowledge the theory behind “Positive Reinforcement Training”, but his “claim to fame” still appears to be training by domination. My perspective is very simple “Do I want Ray to do what I ask because he wants to, or because he is frightened not to?” I think the answer is obvious.

          By way of another perspective on Domination training. If you have a delinquent teenager and threaten to hit him with a 2 x 4, he will probably cooperate until such times he decides to leave home. If you threaten to hit a dog in order to get some cooperation, it will probably oblige until it decides to attack. It probably cannot leave home.

          Finally (this is very sensitive topic to me!), science has established that the mental capability of a dog replicates a human 3 year old. In the context of training, I always like to refer back to the question “Would you do it to a 3 yr old child?” which tends to lead to
          “If you wouldn’t do it to a 3 yr old child, perhaps you shouldn’t be doing it to a dog!”

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          • Wow, that’s interesting. I am all for whatever is best for animals and whoever is doing what’s best for them. I don’t know much about Cesar Milan other than his TV show. I guess I always just thought the domination thing was because he talks about acting like a “pack leader.” Kind of like you are getting down to their level/ what they understand.
            But oh my goodness, I would not want a dog to do something because they are afraid not to!! That is what I am against and what I talked about in one of my more recent posts, “Elephants in Entertainment.” That’s what they do to them to get them to perform, they beat them, and remind them of a beating with a bullhorn in their hand while the elephant is performing. It’s horrible!
            You said something about hitting, does he hit animals? I do see him “tap” them. But I have to admit there have been times watching his show I have thought it was a full fledged hit and I did not like it!
            The whole mental capability of a 3 yr old makes me even more sad for any dog being abused. I’m sure they don’t understand why someone is hurting them and they feel so insecure and vulnerable. So sad.
            I can see this is a sensitive topic to you and I am so glad you are sharing this with me. As I mentioned, I am all for what is best for animals!

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  3. Animals are feeling a (dramatic) change of the weather so much better than we do – even without a forecast. That is always amazing to watch! I loved when you said, you were joining Ray on his walk and not the other way around!

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    • Hi Erika – Re his walk? Well that is the reality isn’t it! It is his need for exercise and general enjoyment that he has his walks. Sadly, I see so many people out with their dog, who is being dragged along (can’t sniff;can’t pee) while they are texting or on their phone. Not only have they forgotten the reason for the walk, but they are missing out on so much bonding, education, and just plain fun. That was the reason why I distinguished the walk as his… rather than ours! πŸ™‚

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