Tuesday, October 26, 2021

When treats are not enough.

Last night, Mum got my lead out, let me put my own head in my harness for a treat, did the chest clips up, got her coat on and the poo bags and pocket treats ready and off she and I went for a walk.

When we got outside, the most wonderful things were happening. Everything had come alive! 

There was rain and it was really splashy and made the best smells in the ground and noises as it hit things! It patted me on my head and back like a wonderful shower of fun.

There were leaves, glorious leaves, blowing about everywhere, of all different sizes, smells, shapes and colours, each one chanting "chase me" as they blew along the path.

The puddles were big and sloshy, so much fun for my feet to plop about in... and the ones in the mud - ohhhhh I could dig those forever. That squelchy satisfying squish while my feet paddled away to find the elusive bottom of the puddle.

The grass was cool and wet, and all the smells were inviting me to roll in them.

We also saw one of mum's puppy clients and they wanted to play too - so SURELY I was well within my rights to want to be a muddy pup? Ferocious beasts are not designed to stay clean for long.

I couldn't understand why Mum didn't want to join in. I thought she was being a miserable old cow. She took me three times around the houses, and we didn't even get to go to the field or onto the new estate round the back. 

All the best-wet weather action would SURELY be at the field or the new estate round the back? All those muddy, grassy, leafy places! What a waste! I got to sniff the bins, and a few pocket treats when I got up out of the grass... but that was about it. 

Mum looked grumpy and I was starting to get frustrated. I wanted to go over there to chase leaves and play in the mud, and the water, not go with Mum.

Mum said we had to go home as there was no point trying when it was like this out. She said it was her fault for not thinking ahead and that we had to remember that I was still a pup who was still learning. She said we shouldn't practice what we don't want me to get good at. Including being a muddy pup. So we went home. 

Moo said he never liked the rain and couldn't understand what the fuss was about, so he just ignored my complaints and carried on sleeping. Typical!

So fast forward to today. Mum said she can clearly see that I like chasing things. So we forgot all about trying to walk nicely today and went straight to the park, where although I still pulled a bit to get there, once there, Mum clipped on a long line to trail behind me and whipped a surprise new frisbee out for me. It is a nice soft one so it didn't hurt when I wanted to catch it.

Mum asked me to do a few sits and downs, and to walk around with her for a little while, and in return, she threw the frisbee for me to go after. She said we can't do it too much as "repetitive chasing things is bad for my little growing body" but a few throws in between doing other stuff is fine. 

Playing chasey things with Mum is fun. I like doing chasey things best. Even better than chewing things, eating treats or digging. So having chasey things that I am allowed to do, and then using that as a reward for things Mum wants me to do seems a fair compromise. I didn't even notice all the leaves blowing about today as we were having so much fun. Or the other dogs. Or the children in the park. Mum seemed happier too. She said something or other about "Premack", but I was too busy running around on my long line with my new frisbee to listen to that boring trainery stuff.

She gave me lots of treats too and on the way home, even past the cars on the main road, I walked nicely beside her, having a nice little chat with her about the things we could see instead of me trying to chase off after them. I didn't even pull!

Mum said that is good practice doing things we DO want me to learn, instead of things we don't, and that I was a really good girl today. I think actually, I am always a good girl and that it was MUM who behaved better today.

Today was a good walkies.

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