A dog taking his human for a walk
Reactive Dog

Taking my Human for a Walk: A Reactive Dog’s Perspective

Hey guys, Geronimo Cinnamon Bun here. Mom doesn’t usually let me do this, but she wasn’t really feeling like writing today, so she let me do it.

So, as any dog in this situation would do, I sat down to write out my thoughts, consult academic journals, and create a rhetoric on the use of hot dogs in the counter conditioning of gigantic Christmas lawn decorations.

Just kidding! I’m smart and all, but no one wants to hear about my altercation with blowup Darth Vader.

(I can’t believe my mom posted this video!)

I digress. What I did want to share with you, dear reader, is what it like for me on the awesome thing called a Walk. I can tell by the looks from the passerby and the side eye I get from the “wind blows in my hair because I’m a supermodel” Great Pyrenees down the street, that I don’t take normal Walks.

I don’t take “normal” Walks because I like to evaluate and assess everything I see and hear.  For example, if I see a dog in the park, I think about things like the level of fun they are having, the attitude they give me, how fast they are moving, are they looking at me, could I have fun with them, and are they scary. I believe that you have to check things out before you know if they’re ok or not.  Same goes for humans and that weird sculpture at the park…

My Mom calls it reactivity.  I think that she thinks that I’m a little bit of a scaredy cat sometimes, but you just NEVER know about anything until you smell it.  Better safe than sorry, am I right?  On the other hand, if I know everything is cool, I get really excited and I just HAVE to talk about it.  I have to tell them that I’m excited to see them and that I missed them and that I peed on the bush over there. I’m just being polite and starting a conversation!

Well anyways, when I see my Mom looking at my leash, I let her know that it’s time to take a Walk.  Walks are great because Mom brings a TON of treats. I love treats.  I follow her in the kitchen while she puts a treat bag together to make sure she remembers to come back to get the leash.  She always puts this harness on me though, I really don’t like putting it on, so I run around a little.  It’s good for my Mom, it gets her warmed up for the Walk.

After we’re all suited up, I try really hard to wait patiently at the door, but who knows what could be out there. I saw a cat cross the street right in front of my house last week.  So NOT cool.  I always let out a bark on the front porch so that people and dogs know that I’m going for a Walk.

Once I get Mommy going on the Walk, I am on high alert: my nose is going, I’m watching for anything weird at the neighbors like a knocked trash can (very suspicious), and I’m walking with a purpose.  This neighborhood is full of dogs, so I have to pee on the fire hydrant on the corner to make sure everyone knows that I still live here.

Sometimes we see people on our Walk.  If I see them first, I let Mom know they are there by barking.  She needs to be a little more alert on Walks, these people could try to steal our treats.  If Mom sees the people before I do, she tells me “good job” and gives me a treat.  She’s trying to distract me from the stranger danger.  I play along sometimes, but she doesn’t realize all the smells people have. It takes some time to get to know those smells and find out if they’re dog people.  That’s why I take my Mom on walks, her nose just isn’t that good, so I’ve got to help her.

I see a person across the street! I’m alerting Lawrence!

And let’s talk about the squirrels.  I mean, I have to take my Mom with me, but boy does she slow me down when it comes to squirrels.  I never get there in time because I have to keep her with me on a leash or she’ll get lost.  She’s not really that fast.

The squirrels say very mean things!

I also really like talking to the other dogs I see on Walks.  My Mom isn’t the biggest fan of that, she thinks I’m being rude.  It’s more like “Hey Bob, did you dig that hole you were talking about?” and “Morning Lucy, heard you got a new dog, tell me about!”  Depending on their personality, they either bark back at me or give me a tail wag.

My Mom and I are really close so even though we don’t have the same language, I do try to tell her when I really am worried. I make all the fur on my back stand up to let her know things are scary, because sometimes Mom is right, I do get scared.  My tail stays up like a scorpion tail to tell her that I’m alert even if I’m just smelling the lamppost.  We often had to avoid things that I worry about so that I don’t get upset.  We rarely Walk in a straight line! Mom really gets me and she knows exactly when it’s time to go home, too.

My Mom!

Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy Walks; the smells are awesome and there is so much to see and do.  I can get overwhelmed by all of it though and it can be hard to make good decisions.  For instance, I usually don’t mind cars driving by me, but sometimes on a long Walk with a lot of stuff going on, I get tired and the cars start to bother me and I bark and try to chase them!  My Mom knows that going for a Walk everyday is not the best thing for me.  I like to take the time to rest after an exciting Walk and that way I can really enjoy our next Walk.

Well my new friends, it’s been fun telling you about the dog side of things. I hope everyone enjoys their next Walk!

Everyone needs a potty break.

Leave a Reply