Isis is still in the initial stages of her ‘loving the park’ (!) training and is getting very little exercise. I decide that her second outing each day will be a short walk round the block.
It’s Thursday. She leaves the front garden cheerfully and walks a few steps along the pavement before she stops. She tugs on her lead to go back. But mean Boss sticks to the ‘I won’t pull you but you won’t pull me either’ policy.
This elicits an immediate sit-down. She then indicates that she’ll walk if we can cross the road. Unwisely I acquiesce.
But she sits down in the middle of the road. The road is busy and I have to pick her up. This is not going well.
We walk a few steps further but she is determined to go back and swivels round to face the opposite direction. When I do not relent, she sits down firmly on the grass. We wait about five minutes until she gets up. When she attempts to walk backwards, I body block her.
After another five minutes she walks forward a few paces before stopping again. At every opportunity she tugs towards the edge of the pavement and attempts to cross the road.
Our route is lined with semi-detatched houses, most with open drives. When we pass a drive or path she pulls so hard that we are often two feet onto the premises before I can stop her. I imagine twitching curtains. Each time I manoeuvre her back onto the pavement she manages to change direction. Yet again I have to walk to her other side to head her in the direction we are supposed to be walking.
And so we gaily trip and twist, pirouetting like demented marionettes, until we have completed two left turns and are walking in what obviously seems to Isis to be the ‘right’ direction. Now, although she often hesitates, there are no sit-down strikes.
A brisk walk around the block would normally take ten to fifteen minutes. Today’s sortie takes almost an hour.
It’s Friday. I intend to do our park training. But Isis walks past the car and along the route we battled with the day before. O.K.
Alas, she soon reverts to her previous strategies and again the walk round the block takes almost an hour.
On Saturday, she walks backwards less often but still dives to the edge of the pavement, trying to cross the road. When I will not allow this, she sits down.
She still wants to rush down all of the drives. The walk takes about forty minutes.
On Sunday, she does better. She is persuaded more easily that crossing the road on whim is not O.K. She still stops now and then. We wait. I coax her forward. After a minute or two she moves. The walk takes twenty-five minutes.
On Monday she sets off down the road at a brisk pace, stopping only to sniff and mark the territory. She thinks about changing direction once or twice but soon allows herself to be led on.
Because she is walking forward, I am able to pre-empt her drive-diving by quickly switching to her left side. There are very few attempts to cross the road and these are easily thwarted.
We complete the walk in fifteen minutes.