Triumph #1: I hooked Miró and Alanis into headcollars and coupler and we made it all around one block. Previously we’d only gone up and down the driveway with Alanis dragging and Miró pulling ahead.
I used to walk Darwin and Keeper on a coupler all the time but wasn’t sure if I’d ever get two such different dogs as Miró and Alanis together. In addition to Miró’s being eight years younger, he’s the typical extrovert Airedale, while Alanis is often diffident and likes things to be peaceful, except when she feels like barking. She can also be passively stubborn, as in sitting down like a mule and trying to slip her head out of the collar when she doesn’t want to walk on the coupler. But not today, with much encouragement and many treats, of course.
#2: Later I took Miró to a park full of children, strollers, walkers, dogs, bicycles, and joggers where he could practice walking like a good citizen. He did! He pulled occasionally but sat on command and didn’t play bucking bronco when we walked past other dogs.
Then he showed up a Golden Retriever. In obedience competitions, Goldens are usually the top scorers, the ones to beat. In an open, grassy area, I put Miró on a long line and we practiced sit, stay and come with all the distractions around us. One distraction was the Golden playing Frisbee with his family.
I heard, “Sit. Si-it, Charlie, si-i-i-t. Charlie, sit! Good boy, sit,” this last one when the dog was still not sitting, which would be a good way to get him thoroughly confused. Obviously it wasn’t the dog’s fault that he didn’t sit. Why should he when his owner was willing to give the command twenty times without enforcing it? Charlie stood holding the Frisbee, feathery tail wagging gently. Miró watched. I pretended not to notice.
It is tempting to believe that Miró behaved perfectly, sitting and coming promptly at one command, because the other dog did not, like the one smug child at a party being praised for sitting nicely when all the other kids are throwing cupcakes. Really, though, he’s not that devious. I think.