Friday, March 11, 2011
Walking the dog
I took this dog for a walk today.
It was a long walk. Really long. Like, 2.41 miles long.
That's pretty long when you're only 7 months old. (Okay, fine, 7.5 months old. STILL.)
Did I ever tell the story of how we came to own a standard poodle? My kids are seriously allergic to dogs, but daughter H and the husband really wanted one. They finally wore me down sometime last year and I agreed to get a dog, but for obvious reasons, it had to be a hypoallergenic breed. After some research, we narrowed our choices down to a schnauzer or a poodle.
But I had a further requirement (and I felt like the family owed that to me, since I finally agreed to get a dog and all): I wanted a dog that would be big enough to run with me.
There are large schnauzers, yes. But I wanted a REALLY big dog. And a schnauzer just didn't feel like a good fit for our family. So, a standard poodle it was.
Mister Awful Adorable is getting pretty big now. I'm allowed to start running with him when he's a year old, so to prepare him for that, I've been walking him quite a bit and working with him on matching my pace. He is doing SO GREAT on the leash. Like, amazingly great, when you consider he's still a puppy. (Our awesome trainers get the credit for that. They have worked miracles with this dog.)
He doesn't lunge or pull my arm off. He doesn't pee on every vertical object we pass. He doesn't bark at anyone or anything, not even the dogs behind the fences who bark their freaking rottweiler heads off when we walk by. He does tend to hesitate a bit when someone is walking toward us on the same side of the street, and he's a little freaked out by kids on bikes (he's used to strollers, though). He pays no attention whatsoever to the cars. He mostly stays right by my left side, or just a step ahead of me, trotting happily along.
For the first mile and three-quarters, anyway.
Then he got tired. He just wanted to sit down. I'm sure he would have been happy if I'd carried him, but hello, he is 50+ pounds now. That was not going to happen. So he'd sit, and I'd pet him, and then I'd make him get up and walk a little more (which he did, gamely). Rinse, repeat. For .66 miles along a busy street. It began to feel like some sort of twisted doggy death march after a while. I was pretty sure the poodle rescue people were going to pull up any minute, take him away, and give him to a nice, sane family that doesn't exercise.
But as soon as we turned the corner onto our street he rallied and dragged me the rest of the way home. Then he drank a gallon of water, peed a gallon of pee, and took a nap on the nice cool tile in our entryway.
I was a little worried I had overworked his hips, but after his nap he was 100% fine and has been bounding up and down the stairs and jumping around like a maniac (in other words, acting completely normal)(for him). There's a chance I may have given him a whopping case of Stockholm Syndrome, because while he is usually glued to the husband's side, today he hasn't left mine. And he's been extra cuddly and affectionate, which I don't mind at all.
Still, I think we'll keep our walks a little shorter for a while and work our way SLOWLY up to 2+ miles.
He's still just a baby, after all. Even if he is the size of a Volkswagen.