About Me

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Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Take a Walk

(Our hosts for this week's Fun Monday are Angela and the Lurchers . They want to go on one of our favorite walks. Why is it our favorite? What makes it interesting?)



My normal walk is quite beautiful at this time of the year with its green lawns and flowering trees and shrubs.--redbud, viburnum, dogwoods pink and white, crabapple, bradford pears, lilacs, flowering almond. And not a minute too soon to show off nature's best finery because next Saturday all eyes will be on Louisville for the greatest two minutes in horse racing, the Kentucky Derby.

The city will be filled with women--and men--sporting fantastical hats and outfits eager to see and be seen at all the celebrations for this annual rite of spring. The city, and the 'burbs where I live, always looks its best for the first Saturday in May, making people want to come back year after year.

Willie the pit bull and I march through this neighborhood every day. I'm working on my pack leadership skills and he's learning to follow. In previous posts I've written about my struggles, and partial successes, in transforming Willie from a willful, aggressive dog to a credit for his breed. I credit this practice of structured walking for our accomplishments. The neighborhood is our classroom and right now it's a beautiful one that includes three small semi-wild parks.

Here's the routine. We get out of bed, not talking to each other. I lace up my walking shoes and tamp down some bad "bedhead" hair with a splash of water. Willie runs to the backdoor and sits to get his slip collar on. I go out the door and gate first, he follows. We book it for a couple of blocks with minimal opportunities for sniffing and leaving pee-mails. I don't wait and he has to keep up. We pass where the two border collies live. . .one chained to a dog house, then by the rottweilers, and the German shepherds behind a privacy fence. They bark. Willie keeps walking. Near the end of the walk we head into the parks. I loosen the leash and Willie gets to go all doggy. If we're lucky his friend Cooper, the yellow lab, will be waiting at the fence to chat a few minutes. When we get home, I take his leash off, look him in the eyes and tell him he's a Good Boy. And, of course, Good Boys always get a milkbone and beggin' strip to enjoy on the sofa while he rests and catches up on the morning news.

Now head on over to Angela and the Lurchers to check out the favorite Fun Monday walks. And, I hope you'll come back to Louisville next Saturday for the Kentucky Derby.

(P.S. I use the dog walking techniques taught by Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer from the National Geographic Channel. If you would like to learn more about the importance of the walk in building a good partnership with your dog and see some photo illustrations go to Dog Walking .)

18 comments:

Karmyn R said...

Our first dog was leash-trained so well that he knew he couldn't leave the yard unless he had it on. But, now that he is older and we have kids - he and our younger dog have loosened up on that rule.


Dreaming What Ifs...

Lil Mouse said...

i love a lot of things about this.
first, you use a slip collar on a pit bull. amazing. i recently saw someone with one of those 'trap or jaw' type collars on a chiauaua (sp) on tv. i almost gagged. seriously, you need a bitey collar for that little scrap of a thing? sheesh! okay, now the other thing i like is the derby. woohoo! i watch the big 3 races every year and i get really close to the tv like a kid when the race actually comes on. we visited the downs a few years ago but we were shocked at how run down the surrounding area was. sigh.. guess its like that everywhere.

Aoj & The Lurchers said...

I bet it looks amazing with the shrubs coming into flower!

Patience-please said...

My son will be in your fine city this weekend. As a spectator this year (and networking). But in future years, I fully expect to be cheering his horse on in my fancy hat from his box!
Have you seen any of Patricia McConnell's resource material? (http://www.patriciamcconnell.com/) You might find her methods more effective and fun for both of you!

Jo Beaufoix said...

Hee hee, I loved this. Sounds like Willie is doing very well.

IamwhoIam said...

Lovely walk and nothing better than have a k9 pal with you to enjoy the sight and sounds.

laurie said...

ah, there's nothing like a good dog walk in the morning!!

and that's a lovely, lovely picture.

Melanie said...

My hound dog has never learned to follow (she's 10 now)- her little nose is just so busy sniffing she can't be bothered waiting for me.

That picture is gorgeous!

http://ourhappyhappenings.com

ChrisB said...

Your picture in the park looks so pretty, I would enjoy walking there. I'm very curious to know where in Gloucestershire you have visited!

Gay, Married, with Cat said...

Such a beautiful red bud tree. Isn't spring wonderful!

kitten said...

What beautiful walk. Yep! Gotta give them good boys a treat!

Lane said...

Willie is such a good boy and a credit to your training. I'm impressed that he passes all those dogs without a fuss. We haven't quite got to that stage yet but I'm persevering!

Beautiful photo too!
Enjoy the Derby:-)

Alison said...

beautiful picture Faye and that sounds like a wonderful walk. Willie is a very lucky boy to have such a dedicated human....kudos to you!!

Debs said...

What a glorious picture and what a beautiful place to visit.

My dog pulls ahead as much as he can but thankfully he's only a miniature schnauzer and therefore not too strong.

Sayre said...

We had to teach our dog how to not be neurotic... she's coming along nicely!

Love the redbud picture. I miss them. Where I live, there are so many flowering trees, they tend to get lost, but when I lived in OKC, they were the stars of spring!

lisa marie said...

I love that he waits for you. :) So patient and good. :)

KittyHawk said...

On the same day I read your piece on walking with Willie, I discovered this site that has an online picture book about a dog named Kodak and his environment. I think you would enjoy it, Faye. Go to http://sofobomo.org/projects.html and click on "A Good Walk". You'll see about 30 pages of photos and the photographer's thoughts about them.

Dawn said...

That sounds like a wonderful walk. We have a maremma golden lab cross we are training to walk properly. It is taking some time but getting better. Thanks for visiting my fun Monday. I am finally catching up now.