February 16, 2014

White Dog insisted Steve open the blind by the Watching Chair, even though it was 11pm and pretty dark once past our porch light. After Bella's stellar performance on Friday at the Park we decided to begin her leash training...she had earned the right to participate in the White Dog Army's nightly pre-bed walks. WD wanted to watch her newest recruit take her next steps in growing into the Army.

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.


Jo's World said...

I love it that the Boyz work on their interpersonal skills. Coolest thing I can imagine.

If every household that adopted a dog or two would give it the care you do, the shelters would not be so full!

Jo, Stella and Zkhat

24 Paws of Love said...

That is so wonderful!! Yay Bella.
And stars for Puff stepping into place for her little mentee. :)

Sounds like a wonderful night for all. And to all a good night.

Agnes B. Bullock said...

Great job Bella!

Brian said...

You are doing so good sweet Bella!

Random Felines said...

sounds like a good night of walks for everyone :)

Tweedles -- that's me said...

It sounded like a perfect day to me