Saturday, 11 February 2012
So firstly sorry for the lack of updates, life has gotten in the way!
Today I must have been feeling ill because I decided to be brave and take the dogs on a long (well long for us!) walk and even go in to the dreaded evil park near my house. So rewind back a good 3 months ago I took both dogs to this park and we walked in to my nightmare. So many owners just had their dogs off leash and were ignoring them, letting them run about and do whatever they wanted. This included running up to my two and making them go absolutely mad because they couldn’t play and/or because they felt threatened being on their leashes while the other dogs aren’t. It ended with me sitting on a bench crying with leashes wrapped around my arm feeling like a rubbish owner. I dragged myself back home with my tail between my legs refusing to go back there. The reason I wanted to go that park is because they have a nice little area fenced off for dogs to be off leash, perfect for my two to run about in and have some fun without me worrying about them spotting something and doing a runner.
Darkley is a steam train on a leash, I often to refer to him as a firework on a leash! He pulls, twists and jumps about. It is a work in progress.. he is better than he was but you couldn’t tell that by looking at him really. Holly is a puller too but her harness helps defuse that so she is more of a tugger. To Holly everything is a big adventure still, she is in to everything! They both react to seeing dogs, birds and squirrels (Darkley also likes people..ugh) So every walk is like a mission. I just can’t cope with taking them both in to busy parks and things like that. They get quick walks around the block usually at non busy times. We then play A LOT in the garden, do agility and mental games to keep them busy.
So back to today I decided I was going to take them on a walk, a long one! So after getting Holly to calm down enough to get the harness and leash on her we were out the door. First issue is that Darkley is choking himself, he needs a harness but I can’t find one I want in his size. However people are looking at me like my dog is either diseased or has rabies as he is coughing and hacking now and then. Great. Before we enter the first park on our walk Darkley cowers and drops to the floor freaking out. Holly looks as confused as I do. I scan the area around us for something out the ordinary. Then I spot it, there is a bin that is piled high with different bags of rubbish. Now I have my suspicions that Darkley’s eye sight isn’t what it should be, so that rubbish could well be a monster. I walk him slowly over to it and you see the realisation on his face that it is just rubbish; he sniffs it and carries on like nothing happened. However by walking over to that bin I am now off the path and on ice.. two pulling dogs and me on ice. Yup, fall right on my face! I pop up as quickly as I fell and try to act like nothing happened. I look about..nobody saw..thankfully! The dogs however haven’t even noticed what has happened as there is something that smells amazing on the floor next to me!
We head in to the first park, which is quite empty but also very icy. After falling on my face I decide to keep to the little path that was clear. Suddenly a squirrel appears from nowhere and runs across the path and up a tree. Those with dogs who loves squirrels tend to have an automatic reaction to seeing one, you tighten your grip on the leash and stop in your tracks! Holly got bored watching it as it went up the tree; I think she worked out that she couldn’t get it up there. Darkley however kept giving me the “I can get it mum, let me up there!” look as he whined and stood on his hind legs watching the poor little critter jumping from tree to tree. We left the park with Holly tugging as normal and me dragging Darkley on his hind legs looking upset that I was stopping his plan to scale the tree and find that squirrel.
We walk on up the road. A scooter scares the life out of us half way up the road but we recover, Darkley doesn’t chase it and Holly just looks stunned. We survived. I see a car approaching us, it slows and pulls over. They look lost, oh no they are going to ask me for directions.. I can’t map read for love nor money. The little old lady winds down her window and waves a map book at me and asks where some pub (that’s been demolished!) is. Darkley doesn’t miss a beat and tries to climb in their car to say hello! I yank him back down and tread on his tail while trying to explain where these poor people should go. Nightmare. I send them the wrong way (most likely) and scurry away with Darkley pleased he made some new friends.
The walk to the dreaded park was not too bad, they tried to squeeze through a fence to get to a crow looking bird but that was it. We also saw the poor lost lady driving past a few times.
We enter the park and I am scanning it from the word go. We tip toe over the ice to a nice clear path. There is a father and son playing football and some people walking but not a dog in sight. Woah. Holly stalks some pigeons and we scurry up to the enclosed area for dogs and it is an empty snowy patch of wonderfulness! I let the dogs off and Holly cannot believe what is happening. She can run, off leash, in a park! We played for a while in the snow, lots of play fighting, running and sniffing.. we all had so much fun. Darkley hid in the snow to stalk the elderly colliex jack Russell that we know and ran along the fence to chase her…she ignored him as normal. We then trotted home. Darkley tried to jump on a guy delivering leaflets and we scared a small child by just walking by but we got home in one piece.
It was a great walk, for us. There were no tears, I only fell over once and the dogs had fun. We have a lot of work to do in regards to leash training them but they are getting better…slowly.