Saturday, September 6, 2008

Trying to maintain his cool demeanor

After my run today, I grabbed Alfie and Butter to accompany me on my cool-down walk. I've been trying to walk them more lately, hoping to get them back to the weights they were at before they came to live with me and became subject to our couch's gravitational pull. I also want to take them for walks to get them socialized and give them more confidence. Like me, if they stick around the house too much, they can get a little shy.

In Alfie's show days, when he lived with a large number of Cavaliers, he was the leader of the pack, the King of the Yard. Whenever I took him back to visit, I could tell that he had the respect of the other dogs. The amazing thing was that I never saw him use aggression to gain respect. He simply had a presence. A cool air of confidence.

About half way through our walk, I began to see him get that presence back. He held his head higher and picked up his pace. I might as well have had him on a show lead and been gaiting him around the ring, the way he was moving.

We rounded a corner near a woman kneeling next to her flower beds. Normally the dogs might shy away slightly, taken aback by an unexpected stranger. But they did well, kept their pace. Once we were around the corner, we began to walk past the house's yard, which was surrounded by chain-link fence. The first half of the fence is lined by dense bushes, which end abruptly at a vehicle gate, exposing the yard. My dogs trotted alongside me until we passed the bushes, when a black-and-tan chihuahua, seeing us through the chain link, immediately shot across the yard toward Alfie.

Alfie, seeing in his peripheral vision what must have resembled a bat out of hell, startled and charged forward on the lead, all but yelping with surprise. Upon seeing that the charging object was nothing but a yappy little dog contained by chain link, he glanced over his left and right shoulder, clearly thinking, "Bloody hell, I hope no one saw that."

He then clipped along, escorting Butter and I home, intermittently looking over his shoulder.

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