February 16, 2014
We have developed a system that seems to work for "capturing" Miss Bee without trauma. If I sit at my desk and quietly ignore her, she will come and sit either next to me or in the crate. If she is next to me, I can reach down my hand and gently pet her. Steve can then enter the room and sit at HIS desk and begin talking to her. Slowly he drops to the floor and wraps his arms around her. Once she is in his arms, she is fine and together we can put on her harness then clip on a lead.
Adding a new walker into the routine does cause ripples in the process. Oso's little legs are no longer strong enough for a walk; he gets a special trip after all of the others, out to the backyard with Steve for a "Goodnight Moon" moment of brief wandering and star gazing. Normally, Puff and Taiko take the first shift for walks and are followed by the WD/YoYoMa pair. Both are good matches in terms of speed and longevity...Puff/Taiko are strollers; WD/YAWD like to power walk and cover ground. Finding Bella's best match is going to take some experimentation and a shakeup of the established order...neither being bad things.
Tonight the decision was made easy as Puff rushed onto the porch to join Bella before any decisions were made. They are not so different in size and Puff has been, since the start, Bella's mentor. It seemed natural that they should walk together. And they did well. Steve reported that Bella followed her sister's example for most of the walk and toward the end actually took the lead for a bit. They paced each other well and did not get tangled. Both girls were quite proud when they returned (and I rewarded them with an extra treat before the others came home).
YoYoMa and Taiko are close in size but Yo is much more physical. One thing Steve has been working on is increasing Tai's endurance on walks. He is a young dog (7yo) and suffers from a lifetime of being chained, so stepping up to his brother's challenge is a good stretch. Plus it helps the boys work on their interpersonal skills.
The Queen, WD, daintily stepped from the chair unto the porch to be leashed for her solo walk, as though that was exactly what she expected. We may alternate who goes on "Just Me and Dad" walks each night to give each of the WDA a special night. But for tonight everyone did well and deserved their night-night treats.
And Bella takes another step forward.