Although I love to walk, and I recommend it to all pet parents, when the weather is hot and humid-you will not believe what I am about to recommend-do not walk outdoors. There I said it! Yes, it goes against all that I believe in, but I want to make sure that you and your canine companion stay safe.
We walk early in the morning and in the evening. You could still exercise your doggie during Summer, but the time of day, length of time, humidity, terrain, etc. are a few things you need to remember in order to keep your dog, and yourself safe. What do you do to safely exercise your dog during hot, humid weather?
Let me start this post by saying that there is no such thing as a perfect dog. I could see pet parents red with anger, but allow me to explain. Just like humans, dogs are a work in progress, and that’s ok. But I believe that there is such a thing as the perfect dog for you, the pet parent, and that is a completely other post for the future.
I decided to post about Charlie’s progress, but it dawned on me that I should also post about Charlie’s antics. Why? I want pet parents to know that they are not the only ones feeling lost, frustrated, overwhelmed, etc.
This past weekend we took Abby and Charlie to the Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD for a nice long walk, and well this is where our odyssey started.
During our walk, we introduced Charlie to water, and being the Sheprador that he is he seemed to enjoy it. We continued our walk, and brace yourself, he saw a squirrel, and although he is doing better when seeing squirrels, he lost it. He barked, pulled, whined, etc. In other words, he put a whole Broadway production for us. I had to hold on to that leash for dear life. Then, after a short period of walking nicely, he saw a bird and wanted to go after it, but with less intensity than with the squirrel. We finished our walk, almost an hour long, gave them water, and put them in the car.
Charlie is a little over 2 years old, and there are times when he walks beautifully even if a bird-he ignores birds for the most part-or squirrel show up, and there are other times like our outing this past weekend when he just goes bananas. What I am trying to say is that your dog will drive you nuts and he will certainly keep your life interesting and unpredictable, but take my word for it when I tell you that this too shall pass. One day, your crazy dog will be a well-behaved dog, and you would say to many people, “My Charlie is the perfect dog for me.” Yes, you will! When? It depends on the dog. Our Abby calmed down around 4-5 years old. I’d say Charlie has another 1-2 more years of craziness in him.
Dogs are not perfect, but who would want a perfect dog? It would be boring. Until your dog matures, he will-many times-misbehave and surprise you. You are just going to have to have patience, be consistent, and remember that life is full of surprises, and so is your dog!
I got tired of typing that long, Charlie’s Behavior Rehabilitation And Training title, so I went with the shorter version, Charlie’s Progress. Hope you don’t mind.
Anyway, today Remy came to vacation with us for a few days and I’ll be honest when I say that he is the most gentle dog we’ve ever had. So cute too!
Remy already met Abby the last time he stayed with us, but this was the first time Remy was meeting our Charlie. How did it go? Charlie barked furiously-our neighbors probably thought something was going on-when he saw Remy, but after a couple of minutes he was quiet. I will give you all the juicy details on my next post. Take care and hydrate!
As you can see in the above picture, Abby and Charlie take their job seriously. Our routine is to drop off the garbage, sometimes we have to do 2 trips, and pick up our mail.
Charlie’s separation anxiety is slowly starting to disappear. He no longer screams murder when left in a room alone. We’ve been able to go shopping without a problem. Also, Charlie no longer goes bananas when we put Abby in the car first. He gets excited, which is normal, but even that is manageable.
I realized very early on that Charlie needed to get exposed to everything and that’s exactly what we’re doing with him. It helps that Abby is there to lend a paw to her younger brother. To those pet parents out there dealing with a variety of issues, we all have issues by the way, don’t give up and work hard. Our dogs are worth it. Enjoy your weekend!
The mess behind the cupcakes and flowers happen to be because those cupcakes were made by one of Abby’s moms, Cynthia, from scratch. Between you and me, I wanted to buy some from a store already made, but that’s just me.
We are usually so busy during Abby’s birthday every year, but not this one. Abby’s birthday was on Saturday, 4/3/21, so that day we went for a long walk; Abby and Charlie both had some tacos for lunch; and for dinner they had chicken. Then, to continue the festivities, on Sunday after our usual walk, we just relaxed on our back porch. All in all, I’d venture to say that Abby had a pretty nice birthday weekend, don’t you think so?
Charlie is improving on some things, and on others, we still got a bit to go:
-Walking around where we live is getting better. I haven’t seen him do a Superman, airborne, recently. But, yes there is a but, when he is walking outside of our property Charlie is still a bit hesitant. We are working on that.
-Eating, our boy eats anything, is getting better. He is giving me space when I am about to feed him. Great job Charlie!
-Sleeping/napping in his bed is also better. He is staying on it longer and longer. Yay!
-Separation anxiety is something that most shelter dogs exhibit and Charlie is not the exception. This weekend we took him to do some shopping and when Cynthia exited the car to go to the supermarket, guess what happened? Charlie lost it. But, and this part is the good part, he did better and better as we went to different stores. I will write about separation anxiety on another post.
I want pet parents to know that getting a dog to be balanced is done slowly with tons of patience. For those pet parents that are frustrated I would say to them to take a moment and to keep working at it. Take my word for it, your canine companion is worth it. I know my Charlie certainly is so don’t give up. Stay safel
Charlie has been with us for a little over 2 weeks and slowly, emphasis on slowly, he is gaining weight, and he is starting to learn manners. Yeah! But, I want to tell you that behavior modification takes time, patience, and lots of persistence. One thing I tell my clients that they need to master is walking their dog. At the beginning, Charlie was impossible to walk with Abby, but as days went by he surprised us by walking beautifully like in the above picture.
And then Charlie saw a deer, and guess what? He went airborne. Yes, you read it right. He is a big dog so I never thought that could be possible, but Charlie proved me wrong. It took a few minutes for him to relax, and when he finally did we continued our walk. Is this unusual? No. All our dogs did the same, until they got used to seeing other animals without having any reaction.
For those pet parents that are scratching their heads not knowing what to do with their dogs, let me tell you that your dog will learn athis/her own pace, and you need to remember that. Find a dog trainer that you and your dog are comfortable working with and enjoy the ride. Also, when you are fed up, please do not work with your dog. Take a deep breath, put your doggie in his crate, and have a glass of wine. Once you are relaxed, continue working with your dog. By relaxed I mean balanced not buzzed. Stay safe!
It’s funny what you miss as time goes by. Kayaking with Alex is something I truly miss although our first time was certainly an odyssey, but it got better and better the more we did it. Alex has been gone a little over 5 years, and my heart still aches for her, but I am also thankful for the time we had with her.
With that being said, let’s cross our fingers, we hope that next year we are able to go kayaking with Abby and some of her canine friends. Have a great weekend and stay safe.