Saturday, May 12, 2007

Walking & other stressful activities

Linus is afraid of lawn mowers. How did I figure this out? We left for our walk ( I even tried going out the door first.) & Linus went absolutely berserk when he heard our neighbor mowing his lawn. He flailed around like a 47 lb fish at the end of a line. He tried to run into the house, away from the house, into the wall, back into the house. I managed to finally get the door closed & locked with all 3 of us on the outside. It was a lot easier to focus on Linus then. I headed off down the street away from the noise. He was freaking out, yanking hard on the leash, and running as much as I would let him. I yanked him to a stop "Wait" and fought him until he stopped moving with the collar loose. He was breathing really hard & fast & shivering. I waited until he stopped shaking & then we started walking again. It was hard to resist the urge to pet & fuss over him, kneel down & give him a hug but Cesar says that sort of thing just reinforces the panic reflex. So on we went.

A car pulled into a driveway & 3 people got out. Nutso time again. I kept pulling him over beside me. No orders to Wait or Sit, just using the leash to tell him to get back beside me. Again I resisted the comforting urge. I stayed there until they'd gone into their house. Linus relaxed and off we went again. Turning onto the next street I heard another lawn mower in the distance. Guess what? Everybody and their uncle mows their lawn at dusk. It made for a stressful but productive walk.

Throughout all of this Einstein walked behind me. Usually he charges ahead but I guess he wanted some distance between himself & a panicked Linus. Can't say as I blamed him. I made Linus "Wait" whenever Einstein wanted to smell something. Linus was still tense & breathing hard.

Another car with people & another mower came & went with less anxiety than before. I guess Cesar knows what he's talking about.

Surprisingly the 2 motorcycles that went by didn't even faze him. Having been an outside dog, I would have thought that he'd heard mowers all the time. I guess not. It'll be interesting the first time Chris had to mow or I have to vacuum.

During this, I told Linus to Wait twice when he was making for the street & he actually stopped! I was impressed.

We got to another house with a couple & a little boy getting out of their truck. Linus started freaking. Then he noticed the 2 girls riding their bikes in the street & freaked some more. I stopped & started reigning Linus in like I had been doing the rest of the walk. I looked back & saw that Einstein was at the end of his leash wagging his tail at the little boy who clearly wanted to pet him. I thought for a moment & said that it was OK if he wanted to pet Einstein and then started to get a better hold so that he wouldn't knock the kid over. All this time Linus is going nuts on the end of the leash. He ran every which way including between my legs at one point. The lady commented that I had my hands full. I told her were Linus had come from and that he was afraid of people so he really shouldn't be petted but that Einstein loved it. Einstein put on his charming cutie routine & received pets from the adults and squeals of joy from the boy. The girls stopped so I repeated what I had told the woman. You know, about don't pet the freaking out terrified dog but you can pet the happy nice one? sigh. Linus had started to wear himself out and was leaning up against the back of my legs. I saw something & turned around just in time to see one of the girls petting him and darting back. I was too tired to be mad but she's lucky that Linus isn't the type to bite when scared. She may not be so lucky the next time an owner says no & she doesn't listen. I had my hands too full to talk to her about it. The little boy finally screwed up his courage and petted Einstein. He and Einstein were both thrilled. A minivan stopped in the middle of the street and a guy I recognized from our walks asked about the second basset hound. Linus was almost beyond additional freaking by now but he did feel honor bound to try a little.

On we went. I was ready to agree with Linus and head for home. Unfortunately, he hadn't done his business yet. Plus this was good for him. The rest of the walk was fairly downhill, terrorizingly speaking. He actually started walking with some slack in the leash (I'd given up on that and had focused on keeping him calm.). He did both of his jobs & even decided that he needed a brief lay down under a tree. He got up readily when I asked him. The girls came back around on the sidewalk this time (I still don't get that. Bikes are for the street. Sidewalks are for walking. But then I don't get people walking down the middle of the street pushing a baby stroller either.) and I pulled the guys out of the way. Linus didn't put up a fuss. He even stopped to wait at the next street corner even though I'd forgotten to tell him. He tensed up when we got back to the house but the mower had been put away so we made it inside without any problems.

He's plopped in his cave but I think he earned it.

Well, I think I'm going to go look for some yarn to try some Scribble Lace with. I think we all earned a break. Guess I'm not such a bad pack leader after all.

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