Friday, September 2, 2011

Mission Accomplished.... At Last!!

Rewind: Less than two months ago was Independence Day. When fireworks and bottle rockets exploded seemingly everywhere. Since then, Rose has stubbornly "protested" our routine evening walks. Literally. Due to this pathological fear that at any random second, something will go BOOM and frighten her. Even though nobody has lit a firework in several weeks!! However, her fret graduated itself from pathological to psychological. Swiftly. She absolutely refused to go on our walks. Rose's muscles would tense up, in both her neck, and shoulders. Forcing me to gently pull my mongrel down our cul-de-sac!! Seriously!! We even purchased Rose a red harness so to assure that she cannot accidently slip out during such fights!! Or injure her extremely vulnerable neck!! I tried being firm, yet patient. She was not getting her way!! I tried being relaxed. I bribed her with treats. Nothing worked!! This has been a roller coaster ride of one step forward and two steps back. Temporary success. Long-term defeat. I desperately wanted a victory!! It felt as though this struggle of ours drug on and on.... I have most likely exercised Plans A through Z in attempting to find solutions!! Or so it seems!! Fast-forward: I finally got smart in my realization that Rose not only learns best with treats, but can anticipate one.... So long as she is cooperative!! If my Beagle mix walks flawlessly down our cul-de-sac--the entire way--sans tensing up, she earns a baby carrot!! Plus endless praise!! If not, nothing. No treat. No "Good girl". This newfound plan began one night during a short-lived heat wave. Quite by accident. Rose, like everyone, was drinking more water than usual. That night, she surprised me!! I lead her toward our backyard, and Rose walked in the direction of growing blueberries!! Really? We walked completely across our backyard.... Toward the end of it!! And then.... She urinated!! The following night, same thing!! On both occasions, I praised Rose excessively, and provided her a baby carrot!! Then, our heat wave ended. We returned to fighting each other. I tried walking Rose down our cul-de-sac.... But gently pulled her instead. Alright. We will return to the backyard next time. Relax. But under one condition: I lead her toward the blueberries!! My message is crystal clear: Cooperate, baby carrot. Be reluctant, even for a second, she loses!! Rose is my bright girl.... Who loves food!! It did not take much time for a long-awaited "mission accomplished"!! We now walk effortlessly every night!! Why didn't I think of that before?

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