Thursday, 7 June 2012

Reality check, a minor bump in the road.

Oh dear, the honeymoon period took a reality check today.
(By the way the picture is of Blue at the end of a yawn, but did seem apt)

Blue has had an off day today, not sure what was the cause but it has been challenging to say the least.

As with all relationships, they say you have to take the good with the bad, today Blue showed a less than adorable side to his nature. One could look for reasons or excuses or even make some up, but a few things happened today which brought a reality check.

On his early morning walk, he had a brief opportunity to go off lead in the park and play with his tennis ball, in the distance a young Labrador was spotted off lead doing a similar play thing with his companion, not yet fully trusting Blue he was put back on his lead with some discretion, so as not to make it an issue, we carried on the rest of the walk until we left the park for a spell of road walking, which ended up with us going back into the park ten to fifteen minutes later. He was detached from his lead where he game fully played fetch with his beloved tennis ball. Returning to home for a well earned breakfast all was well in the world for me and Blue.

When I returned home from work not long after 4.00pm my wife Sue had said that Blue had seemed a bit restless during the afternoon. Suspecting he may have some business to attend to I gave up my customary tea and chat with the wife to take Blue out.

Now here is the rub, the rain was quite heavy as we made our way into the local park, Blue was very distracted by a lady crossing the park with an umbrella up to shield herself from the rain. But we moved on , he did his business which was dutifully scooped up and placed in the dogie dodo bin. We walked on and Blue started to nudge me and be a bit fussy. After a quick scan of the park, it was just me Blue and the rain, which had eased up. His lead was removed so he could go and explore or do what he wished.

All the signs had been there, but not heeded, Blue wanted to play and old game, intimidate and control, initially it was a boisterous nudge, which quickly escalated into a face to face confrontation. Verbal commands had fallen on deaf ears, he was getting bolder and bolder. Without any warning he was squirted with the water bottle, which stopped him in his tracks. Reluctantly he obeyed the command to sit when I could then reattach his lead to his collar and halti.

As no harm or damage had been done we then set off, held close by, with the lead attached we did a circuit of the park, we ended up exactly where Blue had kicked off. Now for the test, a quick scan confirmed we were alone in the park, Blue was released from his lead and did not venture too far, if only at times to fetch the treats that had been thrown by me to encourage to run and chase. The walk continued for five or so minutes, when Blue was told to sit and wait, then would come to my on command, collar attached and then our walk continued out of the park. 

Walking down the lane a car passed, and Blue launched at the car in his old manner, the bottle of water was required for a second time. Like buses they say it comes in threes. Our final leg of the walk brought us heading towards a small well behaved black dog and her owner, they have seen Blue in action before and stood just far enough away to allow us safe passage past, I don't think blue was thanking them as he struggled at his lead, hoping to meet and greet, and there it was the third time the water had to leave the bottle.

Order restored we completed the final leg of our 40 minute excursion which had been action packed.

Was it disappointing, yes, could it have been avoided yes, was there any one reason or a combination of many things, who knows.

What I do know is next time it rains and Blue is sending out signals, it is up to me to lead him on a safe passage, where he will be more relaxed and less likely to feel agitated.

After all of today's events, disappointed though I maybe to have had to use the water bottle, I still feel that progress with Blue just hit a minor bump in the road, and I look forward to our next adventure, due about 5.30am tomorrow morning.