My female walking companion gets into ruts. Always walking the same way. Down the alley, turn right; past the playground turn right again, and so on.
If we meet up with friends—my buddies Stella, Zadie, Flash, Calie, and Sheva all bring their people out with them–my walking budding seems amenable to trying new routes.
However, she fails to grasp some important truths: 1) variety is the spice of life, and 2) once I’ve marked an area as my territory, I need to make regular trips back to ensure other dogs aren’t encroaching. Marking only lasts but so long and needs to be diligently maintained!
However, I think I’ve figured out how to deal with this issue. It’s all in the attitude. Start out from the house at a brisk pace, almost a trot. Continuously maintain tight tension on the leash and choose a route before she has a chance to think.
Once I’ve established the lead role, I can forge new paths; head back to seldom traveled routes to refresh my claims to the territory; or, if I’m so inclined, allow her to make some selections as to turns.
I will say she has good instincts when it comes to cars.
When the mood strikes that we need a new direction, I just put a paw out and go. Her cautious nature has kept us from some nasty collisions.
So, we’re a team. I make sure she explores a bit more thoroughly, she makes sure we come home in one piece.
Recently, however, she’s been hung up about my limp. So what? I’m a bit creaky in the morning and have to take a few hops. And, yes, I am limping a bit more than normal, but I see no point in letting this hold us back from taking nice long walks.
The question is, how to convince her.
*From The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost