Monday, August 5, 2013

Tropical Storms, Fear, and the Dog Walk

Lettie was bulletproof.   She would walk out in the storms no problem unless there was a lightning strike within a mile.

Rack ... not so much.

Ok, he's a puppy, still less than a year, so I expect a little skittishness. 

Plus if there are lightning strikes within a mile... what the hell am I doing out there anyway?

Sounds are his trigger for fear.  Loud noises are his kryptonite.   He doesn't like trucks, motorcycles, banging bottles, trash trucks, or buses blowing their air brakes either.

That's all normal living here.   Instead of avoiding those sounds by not walking Wilton Drive, I embraced them and realize that when he starts to go into his shell by trying to walk "THAT WAY NOW" to get away from life, the best way to deal with it all is to stop and let him gather himself up.

That is how I managed Lettie.   When we lived in Philadelphia, I was a block from a major shopping district, Germantown Avenue.  The 23 Bus would rattle up and down Chestnut Hill driving her crazy.  Every Saturday, I would take her out to the corner near the house, sit on the park bench facing The Avenue and watch people.  Sunday I would be back out as well.   It took a while but she came around.

Now I'm doing it with Rack.  Walk The Drive whether he's up for it or not.  There are benches and we'll stop most walks.   It lets me stare at my feet for a bit while he obsesses over that 50 bus heading to Pompano Beach.

Add to it the rain.  We had this little tropical storm spin its way up the coast this weekend.  Dorian.  It really was a lot of thunder and lightning more than anything else.   Sure it rained, but it wasn't a major downpour that would flood the city here.   Low lying areas of course would vary.   I'm on a high spot of 15 feet above sea level.  

Let me get my Sherpa and Climbing gear.

Here in the land of flat, a foot makes a difference between a flooded yard and high and dry.

Walking the Drive means Rack is fully aware of every single thing.  Trucks in the distance he notices before I do and he's not liking it.  Puppies, especially fearful ones, neither understand what these sounds are nor do they understand that they are a part of life.   Patience on my part, learning on his part. 

While on a dry day he's merely afraid, we noticed that the rain added a level of noise that he liked even less.  Wet tires.   Those big 31 inchers on my Jeep would make more noise with the water being sprayed out between treads, so the trucks flying by over the speed limit certainly do.

It made for a much more skittish and fearful dog.  The first truck came by and he cringed so badly that he bounced off that fence in front of the shops.  42 pounds of bouncing puppy ricocheting off of a fence means that the walk slowed to a crawl. 

Fearful dogs take a different discipline.  They also require a much gentler approach.  They will come around but it is up to the owner to step back and give them space.  Lettie was never completely over her fear of dogs, but managed it.   Rack will come around too.   We're just too close to noise, no matter where we are, not to.

It just takes patience.  A lot of patience.  A little sunshine would help too.

No comments:

Post a Comment