Penelope and Me: Lessons I Learn Walking My Dog On The Beach
Sometimes, we have to teach people how to treat us.
Penelope is in training. Like a defiant toddler, she decided she can greet any and all dogs walking in her direction by tugging her leash and pulling me where she willfully wants to go.
This does not always end well. Some dogs do not appreciate Penelope entering their space, and bark warnings of “do not approach.” To be fair, Penelope sometimes arrives snoot to butt and decides at the last minute, nope, don’t really like this one. She barks, admonishing the dog, insulted the dog did not live up to her expectations.
Mostly she just wants to play. She just doesn’t understand this is not done so easily on leashes.
I decide she needs to be trained out of this behavior and start filling my pockets with treats before each walk. As a dog approaches, I make Penelope sit, focus her attention on my eyes and feed her treats. Other times I keep her walking leading her along by dangling the treats in front of her nose as she nips at my hand trying to get the tasty morsels.
Penelope’s caught on to this quite well. Only she’s developed her own method. She pulls in the direction of the dog then returns for a treat. She repeats these steps until the dog passes. Today she tugs toward the dog until it moves along. She returns to me, sits and looks up innocently for a treat.
In her mind a passing dog now means a treat. Penelope likes this method and has extended it to people, cars and bicycles. She goes and greets people she knows, then sits and looks at me for a treat. She patiently sits when cars pass and asks for a treat for her good behavior. Same with bikers going by.
She’s even extended her training to her water bowl. After a hot walk, I give her a drink of water in the car port before we go inside. She knows there are treats left in my pocket and refuses to drink unless I give her one. Or two. Oh, what the heck, I just give her what’s left. She happily takes a drink of water.
Wait a minute. Who’s training who? Doggone it! It’s me, I’ve been trained! Penelope’s gone and taught me just how she wants to be “treated.”
Well now, isn’t that a lesson we can all learn. Teach people how to treat you.
How do you want to be treated today?