Our Daily Walk

Beebe experienced a major setback in the polite dog walking department. She had a huge hissy fit at our neighborhood park which ended with her growling and snapping and us leaving the park totally stressed. So much for that relaxing AM walk. As usual, Ike was carefree, happy, sniffing for bitches, but little sister just came unglued as soon as THE SCARY BEARDED JOGGER WEARING A SILLY HAT appeared.
Actually, she suspected he was nearby, as somehow, by some horrible coincidence, we almost always happen to see this guy whenever we are at our park. He doesn’t appear to live there, but he always appears out of nowhere, merrily and rapidly striding towards us with hat bobbing on his head and long flowing beard fluttering in the wind, obscurring a large portion of his face. Like a reactive dog’s worst nightmare, it becomes her self-fulfilling prophecy. She begins building up this unreasonable fear as soon as she realizes we are entering the park and then gets this squirrly, fish eyed look, which ends in a total shutdown in a matter of seconds as soon as he appears.
While I have one happy dog standing next to me sniffing trees who has had very little formal training, the dog to whom I have devoted 1.5 years of formal obedience, agility and good citizen training is the dog that has the least ability to cope with this benign circumstance. We tried to walk it off, but she refused any treats or eye contact with me although she was responding to all of her obedience commands, so I basically lost her focus and we had to leave. The thing that got me was that we passed 6 or 7 people at the park and on the way home with her eagerly going up to sniff and no barking or fearful reaction at all. We should do great on the CGC test, as long as the bearded jogger with his funky hat don’t show up…

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