Ray has expressed his interest in his walks from a long time ago. To be more precise, he has expressed his interest in where we walk! Typically, if our choice of route was not to his liking, he would just stop and stare at us and, if nothing resulted from that move, he would sit!
There are times when we freely let him chose the route, but there are others when we do have an agenda. In the latter scenario, we have a number of strategies which will generally resolve the problem.
1. Split up! One of us will stay with Ray, while the other one heads off in the desired direction. Ray is very “pack oriented” so will usually (eventually) start moving very reluctantly in the desired direction.
2. Go for a spin! On most streets where Ray stops, he only has a choice of two directions, and an option to cross the road. If we “spin him (turn) around” on his leash, he will often start moving again. Interestingly, he could end up going in the direction we wanted, but perhaps simply on the other side of the road.
3. Involve him! Often we just leash him and take him out on some pre-determined idea of a route. We found out by chance that if he knows where we are going in advance, there is a very good chance that he will cooperate. Now when he puts the brakes on, it’s “We’re going to the mailbox Ray” or “We have to go the bank” or (more recently) “We’re going to Timmies!” (Tim Hortons where we get coffees and Ray gets a TimBit).
4. Do nothing but wait! He will eventually make his move but, here in the middle of February, it is not always practical (comfortable) to stand and wait for his GSD/Rotti brain to figure things out.
5. “Show me!” When he either really wants something, or is feeling cooperative, the “Show me!” request can be the solution … but the “can be” is stressed.
This past weekend, he put the brakes on right at the end of our driveway. This was a little unusual, and we wondered whether he had some reason for not wanting to go for a walk. We turned him around but that had no impact, so we let the leash go slack. He started back down the driveway!
Clearly he must be experiencing some discomfort so we just followed him … when he stopped. He was right alongside my car and stood facing the door which he uses when we take him anywhere. We looked at each other and smiled. “He wants to go for a drive!”
We decided to take him to a place where there are trail walks nearby, and his vet is about a 15-20 minute walk away should he want to visit there. Once he was out the car and we let him pick the direction, he headed off to his vets!
This was not a total surprise because the vets staff have always been very good to Ray, and he really likes his vet and a number of other staff members. As expected, he was given a very warm welcome (with treats), after which he happily walked us back to the car! The end of another eventful walk.