Practices of the Dog Walk
There was a good post on social media the other day from http://elephantjournal.com and, specifically, their page entitled, “I’m not “Spiritual.” I just practice being a good person.” The post stated: “If you drink a bottle of wine before walking your dog, it sort of feels like he’s helping you solve a crime.”
A couple of points relative to that. First, my dogs are females, so this would be changed to “…she’s helping…” or, more accurately, “…they’re helping…” The use of “he’s” doesn’t bother me, but the correction was needed in my situation. Second, with two dogs, the question arises whether or not a second bottle should be consumed as well or one for each dog. My thought is that one bottle would suffice for how many dogs you have.
With those issues addressed, then the focus turns to the solution to the crime and how that is achieved.
My experience has always been that they follow their noses and that means back and forth, left and right, all over the place. So, there is a “sniff-a-thon” every single walk. It isn’t just a walk, but an adventure. The closest thing to a walk would be if a neighbor with their dog accompanies us, but, even then, there are distractions and my two fall behind.
They do wander from lead to lead, from sniffing here to sniffing there. Distractions are everywhere as they search to solve the walk (or crime). Some evidence sighted versus smelled can be quickly dismissed or explored. Izzy and Maya seem to recognize things out of place and they always check them out. That includes sticks in the road or new bird droppings sighted.
As evidence is identified, it is “marked.” Izzy marks everything of significance and sometimes of questionable significance. Maya rarely marks, but she will point out things as they roam the evidence pathway.
And this is all serious business with no rituals. In the yard, Izzy has a “poop ritual” of walking back and forth over a small area to find the very best spot for a deposit. Maya, if followed closely, would be ran into because she just suddenly stops and assumes the position. On the walk, they are both non-ritualistic with Izzy taking, perhaps, a tad longer to set up for the event, shuffling her feet a little.
In the open world out on the bigger country roads, the leashes interfere with the activities of solving things. There’s some pulling, sometimes by tugging with the head and other times by simply charging forward towards the goal. In a more closed environment, such as “up the lane” next to the cabin, they are leash-less. Maya does more scouting out potential issues while Izzy tends to stay more with me and take some time with things as we come upon them.
The solution requires vigilance. The solvers are protected during the escapade. I usually carry a walking stick. That has not been used for protection except to bang on the road at a neighborhood dog that might be a tad aggressive. The stick might not help if we encountered snakes.
And we remove any “hard evidence” of their ardent investigation (despite being in the countryside), allowing the “pee-mails” to remain along with “markings” for future reference or the investigation of others later.
The regular walk, then, seems complete without any artificial enhancement via the fruit of the vine. Adding that characteristic to the journey could complicate some elements of the search, such as gracefully removing “hard evidence.” The back and forth, left and right, stop and start nature of the “investigation” that is a walk does not require the human to be prepared any better than being perfectly alert…
I still like the post, though…