Thursday, July 23, 2015

How Can I Tell Rack's Feeling More Confident? I'm Wearing Out Shoes

5AM I am usually not at my best.  Oh, sure, I'm awake, but I'm pretty much on Auto-Pilot. 

Left foot, right foot, through the morning for a while.

Somewhere about mid Dog Walk, I wake up more fully.

We start out with just about the same route every time, of course.  It's out of the house, down the driveway, off the block.  By the time we get to Wilton Drive, my brain is sputtering to life.

I can tell Rack is waking up too.  Being as fearful as he is, we start with him putting his head into the harness.  I snap the clasps in place and he's shivering a little.  Not from cold, but uncertainty of what is going to happen. 

But the shivering is getting less intense.  We go through this routine at the last walk of the day, he is nervous.  Who knows why, but I blame whoever he was unfortunate enough to have as a first owner.

Mind you, there are three walks we do.  Each one has its own routine.  Both we and the dogs like that.  Dogs in general like routine.  They can't read a clock, but they can tell roughly what time of day it is based on what is going on in the environment. 

We're on the drive and the Goya truck goes past, roaring at a speed I'd bet is well above the 30 MPH limit.  If it isn't Goya, it's the truck going to supply some of the shops, or maybe even the 50 Bus.  At least one, usually two or three of them will fly past.

Rack doesn't like trucks.  When we first tried walking The Drive, he would flatten out like a pancake on the pavement.  Then he'd sit with the leash completely taught trying to get away.  Who knows why, it's just something that happens.

Lately his reaction is noticeably less.  The ears go down, he'll tug toward the nearest building but it isn't the abject terror of before.

There definitely is an association between The Drive and noise or some sort of discomfort.  The association is weakening.  I know because there's a strange thing happening.

Most mornings when we hit the end of that first block to turn back into the neighborhood and head back home, Rack has been trying to pull towards a longer walk. 

On The Drive.

The regular walk is just over 3/4 mile.  It's a largish rectangle that we can do in about 20 minutes or less. 

This isn't a regular walk.  We got to one of the few stoplights and I got towed toward the "wrong direction" instead of heading back home.

I said "Ok, Rack!".
He looked back at me.
"Show Me Walk.".

Show Me is a phrase I used with Lettie, my departed dog.  If I said that phrase even to someone else, she
would go to what she wanted and stare at it, then back at me until I gave it to her.   It wasn't always food, it could be a toy, a door to go out, or even a leash for a walk.

Rack is starting to learn Show Me.  Sure, your dog can sit, but if it can't tell you what it wants, you're going to be limited to what you can do.

In this case Show Me gave me a walk on the entire drive, plus the blocks in The Neighborhood to get home.

At 5AM.  Ok, give or take. 

He's not really all that fond of Long Walks in the middle of summer.  It was in the low 80s all week before sunrise.  The hottest walk of the day was above 90 on some of the walks.

Metric that translates to Bloody Hot For A Floridian Degrees Celsius.  A Floridian and his dog who are used to the heat.

The last Show Me Walk that we did, which was about the sixth pre-dawn walk that he did this in a row, was a mile and a third. 

Metric that translates to My Feet Hurt.  Two K's.  Before coffee.

*grumble* OK, Rack, lets go!

Nice to know you're feeling your oats and we don't have to treat you like you aren't quite so fragile.

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