We have a Labradoodle named Sawyer. He is eight years old and we adopted him just shy of his fifth birthday, and love, love, love him. He is sweet, affectionate, and loves belly rubs. Where my female doodle, Molly, was a bit of a snob and carefully chose who she would give her affection to, our boy Sawyer gives it to everyone. He shares a bed, (often taking up most of it) with our youngest daughter Alyssa, usually leaving the quiet sanctuary of her room to come wake me up bright and early for his morning walk.
Ahhh, the morning walk. This is usually my favorite time of day when I like to get my body moving, feel the sun on my face, and prepare my mind and spirit for the coming day. I actually wrote all about how much I love to walk in a previous post, The Magic of Walking. What I didn’t share with you, was how my sweet lovable dog turns into Cujo (ok, I’m exaggerating a bit) the minute another dog crosses our path. This is nothing new. It has been a bit of an issue since he joined our family, and he’s been a “work in progress” ever since. Now that the weather is nice again and more dogs are out walking, I’ve noticed an increase in his naughty behavior, and he behaves poorly no matter who has the leash. If there aren’t other dogs around, he’s great. He sits at every corner and we often stop by the parking lot of a nearby school to stimulate his mind a bit, working on basic commands. He is good about walking next me, however, his radar is always on. If another dog or god forbid, a rabbit, shows itself, all bets are off and basically I just hold on to the leash for dear life. He’s 72 pounds of pure muscle, and I don’t stand a chance.
Yes I know, it’s hard to believe.
We would love to take him to the farmers market or to Starbucks on weekend mornings, but there are always other dogs there and well….. I’ve had dogs all my adult life, and have been through the training process with all of them, so I know the basics of dog obedience, but this past week pushed me over the edge. Overall we had a nice walk, and were two houses away from home (so close!!!), when a couple and their very well behaved dog came jogging past us. Usually, if I have enough warning, I’ll often distract Sawyer by turning the other way, taking a different route. It was too late though, he had seen the dog and there was nothing I could do but beg him to be a good boy. Ha!!! He was so riled up, he tripped me up with his leash, knocking me right down on my derrière. Physically, I was fine but my pride, not so much.
I think I needed that fall to finally get me off the fence to do something, so it probably wasn’t a bad thing. I was just putting it off. My walks aren’t doing me any good if they are filled with stress and anxiety, and Sawyer deserves to get the training he needs so he can be his best as well. I did some research, talked with some people, and long story short, Sawyer and our family are going to be working on his manners (or lack of), with a trainer. During the first consultation, the trainer said that overall we have a “very nice dog”, and that his issue with other dogs isn’t that uncommon.
Most importantly though, he said there is hope for our doodle although it is going to be a journey that will require some time and commitment. We all agreed that Sawyer is worth it and we look forward to more enjoyable walks in the near future. We’ll provide updates as we go so that you can hear about Sawyer’s progress. Wish us luck!!!!
The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too.