When Susan first brought me home, I trusted no one. If Strangers came to the house, I hid. But some of those Strangers came again and again. And brought deer sticks. And had a wonderful way of scratching my ears.
So I began to make friends. Slowly and cautiously because you never know where a Scary Man might be lurking.
Then, one Friend started hiking with Susan and me. Yipee! When we were with her, we went on longer and better hikes to lakes where I could swim, and forests where they let me run off leash. I call her Girlfriend, but Susan calls her Leigh. And she is going to Virginia with us to hike the Appalachian Trail.
She has long legs and can walk faster than Susan. And she always shares her treats with me. She is a True Friend.
If Susan doesn't shape up soon, I may go home with Girlfriend.
Oh, how I love to go for a walk! Many of you know that I plan to take Susan to Virginia and hike the section of the Appalachian Trail through Shenandoah National Park. So we are doing lots of what she calls training. I call it glorious.
My favorite way to walk is off leash. Susan doesn't allow this very often, I'm not sure why. So we usually compromise and she takes me on the retractable leash. This allows me enough freedom that I can do lots of sniffing, maybe a quick roll before she pulls me up short, and even a tiny bite of something forbidden. (I really do not understand humans' objection to goose poop.)
But sometimes, Susan tells me to "walk behind." I do not like to do this. She doesn't move fast enough, she doesn't stop to sniff, and she never rolls in the grass. A few weeks ago we were hiking some mountain bike trails, and she would allow me to lead and pull her up the hill, but then at the top, just when I could really get out and move, she would give me the dreaded "go behind."
What's up with that?
So, now I am working to teach her to walk on a leash. I always lead, I set the pace, we stop where I want to stop, and we go where I want to go. Remember, I have my PhD. (Professional human-training dog.)