Dog Walking Types
Wendy the Weary Wanger
Habitat: Any flat, grassy, open space.
Behaviour: Wendy can be seen twice, sometimes three times a day with her high energy, ball obsessed dog Floss.
Most likely to say: "this is absolutely the last one Floss….. oh OK three more then home, I mean it!"
Floss is either crouching in front of Wendy, trembling in anticipation or flying at top speed in pursuit of/retrieval of her tennis ball.
Wendy stands in one spot, waits for Floss to deposit the ball and then using her wanger she launches the ball once more. This happens over and over for several minutes at a time. If Wendy tries to carry on walking Floss grabs her ball and dances in front of Wendy nearly tripping her up, as she stops abruptly in front of Wendy, drops the ball at her feet again and barks and barks AND barks until…… Wendy picks up the ball with her wanger and it starts all over again.
Eventually Wendy grabs Floss’ collar clips on the lead and they go home.
Poor Wendy, her shoulder aches, she’s bored stupid with this routine but doesn’t know how to get out of this rut. In the beginning she thought using the wanger would be a great way to exercise Floss. The trouble is rather than tiring her out it seems to be doing the opposite.
Despite her frequent walks and frantic wanging Floss seems to never tire out. What should Wendy Do?
Zoe the zoned out Zombie
Habitat:- Edge of the playing field, leaning on the railings or sitting on a bench.
Most likely to say:- It’s OK he’s friendly
Behaviour:- Headphones in, phone out, head down eyes seldom on her dog who is….. tearing around the Rec, bounding muddy paws up on you, sprinting after some dogs, bundling and bowling over others.
Zoe’s dog is a nightmare. (we don’t know his name because we’ve never heard her call him) He doesn’t know how to even approach other dogs let alone how to play with them, he doesn’t understand that some of them don’t want to play at all. Sometimes Zoe’s dog finds a friend on the Rec who’s bigger than him, can cope with his boisterous style, enjoys a game of chase with him and helps to draw him away from hassling everyone else.
So far, Zoe’s dog has been lucky but one day he might approach, bully or frighten another dog who may react badly.
What should Zoe do?
Sally the Sorted Stroller
Habitat: Lots and lots of different places, including lovely open country spaces, town centres, you might spot her in a pub garden enjoying lunch with friends, her tired, contented dog enjoying a chew under the table
Behaviour: Sally and her lovely dog Louie have a range of walking styles, sometimes Louie is walking on a loose lead, sometimes he’s off lead.
Mostly likely to say: Thank you, yes he’s lovely I’m very lucky
Louie trots a little way ahead, sometimes a few paces behind and sometimes by her side. Louie checks in with Sally frequently. Stops and waits for her to catch up. He’s allowed to go off and explore, enjoys pausing to sniff and investigate, sometimes they just sit together and enjoy the view.
Sally mixes up their routes and routines, she slips little training exercises in as they go along. Louie loves to climb and jump so when they find suitable obstacles out and about they incorporate a little parkour into their walks too!
Sometimes they walk with other friends but often they’re just out together the two of them. If they see a dog on lead, Louie goes on his lead too, till they’re safely past. They seem to know when to give others space, but if other walkers and dogs are keen to say hello they will, but they move off again quickly.
She always has treats, comfy boots, poo bags a small doggie first aid kit, in fact Sally always thinks of everything. Sally’s enough to make you sick! On the other hand maybe we’d secretly like our dog to be more Louie?
Mike the Meerkat
Habitat: Quiet, deserted country lanes round about dawn
Most likely to say: Sorry
Behaviour: Mike takes his highly reactive dog Lily on an hour long walk every day. They always set off in the car and drive out to the most deserted places he can find. Even in the quiet of the early morning Mike is unable to relax, he spends the whole time on high alert, constantly scanning all around him. Frequently looking behind him.
Coming to the end of a track he’ll stop and peer out around a hedge before going on. You might, if you’re out very early observe his head bobbing up above the hedgerow at frequent intervals.
They come out at this time to these locations because Lily seems to be afraid of the whole world. She barks, lunges, squeals, spins and jumps at so many different things; cars, bikes, joggers, tractors, motor bikes, people, other dogs…... the list seems endless.
Despite these precautions Mike can’t guarantee that they won’t come across something that will trigger Lily’s hysteria. A tractor will come past, a pheasant or rabbit may shoot out in front of them or worse still they might meet another dog walker.
Mike and his ex partner got help for Lily soon after they adopted her. She was beginning to make progress and then Mike and his ex split up and he let things slide. Mike dreads snowy weather which can mean they don’t make it out at all, or Lily falling ill, the last trip to the Vets was a nightmare.
He’s overwhelmed and isolated. Is there hope for Mike?
Can you relate to these dog walking types are you a Wendy, a Mike a Sally?
And who am I?
Like many of you I suspect I’m a bit of a combo. I’m deffo not a Zoe and thankfully not a Wendy but sadly my dog is more of a Lily than a Louie. We enjoy chilled out Sally type walks, we don’t have to go out at dawn but I am cautious where we go and am a bit of a Meerkat.
Will he ever be a Louie? Perhaps not completely but gradually we’re chipping away at multiple triggers and widening our walking environments and horizons.
Jo Boyce. BCCS.Dip.Behav.Prac