One of the walking routes I take the pooch on takes us by the backyard occupied by two scottie/labrador mix breeds. One is light brown, the other is black and white -- resembling a larger version of our puphound.
Franny seems to be fond of these two boys, as she jumps and rubs and bounds and whinnies against the fence whenever we walk by. They are not aggressive and enjoy the semi-regular visits from this new little girl in the neighborhood.
Yesterday, we (Franny and I) found them out of their yard, wandering the alleyway behind our house. They were happy to see Franny and frolicked playfully, as I attempted to get a leash on the one with a collar -- only one had a collar on.
I surmised that they had escaped the confines of their backyard and were out doing the doggy free-at-last trail for the day. Figuring that if I could wrangle the one with a collar and get it back to it's owner, the other one would follow it's backyard buddy and go along.
Problem was, I couldn't get a hold of the collared pooch long enough to get a leash attached. I'm not a cowboy and didn't happen to have a lariat handy, so I did the next best thing...I used my dog to lure them back to their house.
It worked pretty well, and I managed to lead my "pack" the block and a half distance to their backyard digs. Upon arrival I knocked and knocked and knocked to no avail - the owners weren't home.
Intrepid to the end, I made my way around the house, examining the easiest way to get the dogs back into their domestic domain, when I discovered that the heavy front gate was unlatched -- this must have been the poochy pairs original avenue for their great escape.
Franny and I casually strolled into the backyard, bringing the panting pair of boys behind her. Once in the back, I found a ball on the ground, tossed it across the yard and darted out the front gate while they gave chase to the bounding rubbery orb.
Having a frontal lobe comes in handy sometimes.
Back home I strolled, feeling pretty good about myself in that all my human experience and higher education had paid off in spades during this canine catch-and-release episode.
No sooner had I arrived back home and was finishing rubbing my sore arm which got that way from patting myself on the back so vigorously, did the duo of fugitive hounds come scampering back into my life and onto my back porch.
So much for my higher station on the brain scale size.
Discouraged, but not entirely daunted, I reached into my pocket and produced a few doggie treats that I use to train Franny on our walks, and offered them to the pair of wandering woofers. They took them.
Ahh, the downfall of man and animal, will be our desire to consume that which is offered to us by a kindly hand.
I managed to lure them into my garage with kibble from my pocket and locked them in, safe and secure.
On the way back from picking the girls up from school, I drove by the now captured dogs owner's house to find a teenage girl and her little sister on the front porch, themselves returning from a full day of reading-writing-and 'rithmatic.
"I have your dogs" I shouted from my rolled down car window. The conversation continued until were able to negotiate the return of the pooches to their righful owner.
So, here's where the story begins...no really, this is it.
While walking the brown dog back to his home on a leash, it was obvious that he was not used to being walked. He fought me every step of the way, tugging at the leash, biting at his collar, spinning and running in circles to escape the confines of his nylon strap bondage.
Finally, he just plopped himself down in the middle of the sidewalk, within eyesight of his own domicile.
I could have picked him up and carried him. I could have dragged his stubborn butt down the sidewalk. I could have bribed him further with the remaining treats in my pocket. But this wasn't my dog, so I tried something different.
Regular YASTM readers may recall my reading selection from a few weeks ago...Cesar's Way - The Natural, Everyday Guide to Understanding and Correcting Common Dog Problems" by Cesar "The Dog Whisperer" Millan.
Anyhow, what I did do was access the database in my brain under the heading "The Dog Whisperer" and channeled my inner calm/assertive persona (I use Toshiro Mifune, but Cesar Millan suggest John Wayne, or Clint Eastwood as examples). I stopped pulling on the leash and relaxed my arm, stood straight and erect, looked off into the distance to where I wanted to walk and assumed the mentality of a wolf pack leader.
Then I gave a little tug on the leash, a quick "tsk" uttered from my larynx, and we were off.
Just like that.
Logically, I'm thinking that the dog just decided at that very moment that he wanted to walk.
Emotionally, my brain is hopping around excitedly to think that maybe there is something to all this "dog psychology'' hooey.
Physically, I just need a nap.