Have you ever been walking your dog, trotting along at a good pace, and all of a sudden your pup just stops and does a full body plant in the middle of the street or on the edge of someone’s yard? This is a regular occurrence for us. Jellybean and I take six to eight walks in a day. Don’t worry, though, they are not excessive. A normal walk consists of fifteen to twenty minutes for my short-legged furry friend, depending on time and weather. I can count on Jellybean becoming one with the ground at least twice during any of those walks. It happens to me more often that I would like to admit and immediately my impassioned pleading begins.
“Come Jellybean.” (Nothing)
“Let’s go, Jellybean.” (Nada)
“Come, my sweet little puppy.” (No eye contact)
“Let’s go Jellybean, time is a-wasting.” (Disinterested glance)
“Hidy ho my friend, let’s go!” (Flat to the ground)
“Well alrighty then.” (A crooked dog smile)
I find this behavior very puzzling and I must admit, a bit embarrassing. Obviously, I am not the one in charge here. It’s all about Jellybean. I won’t even begin to argue that one. As a result, I have done a bit of research on this very topic. As it turns out, Jellybean is not the only pup with a penchant to end her walk on her own terms. There are quite a few articles and blogs out there that address this very phenomenon. There could actually be some valid science behind the “mid-walk flop,” a phrase coined by Allison Gray on a website titled petful.com. After reading several articles and blogs, here are just some of the possible reasons for this behavior: injury, illness, tiredness, laziness, stubbornness, and weather-related issues.
Hmm….interesting stuff. I must admit, however, I am well-aware that Jellybean’s short snout does not tolerate breathing in extremely hot air, nor do I allow her to walk on scorching hot or freezing roads and sidewalks – they’ve got lawns and doggy boots for those situations! I groom her thoroughly every day, so I am quite cognizant of any injury. Even with having a good awareness of Jellybean’s overall health, the information I gleaned through these readings resonated enough that I certainly will pay more attention and not just assume she is playing the part of Diva Dog.
I also came across a great strategy to end simple stubbornness when walking. Two leashes; the normal six or four foot length, and an additional leash or cord about twenty feet long are the only things needed. Attach both to the collar. Walk as usual, but when the stop, drop, and stop occurs, simply keep walking. The twenty foot leash allows you to move ahead quite a bit. It seems many pups do not like this, as suddenly their need for attention is not being fed. I like that! No more pleading and begging her to move. I think I might try this!
Through all my readings, however, I have not found a solution for Jellybean planting her furry little body at the end of every driveway in the neighborhood that has an open garage door. In these instances, I often text my friend and quip “I can’t get my turtle to move.” As kindergarten teachers, we often read a story of the same name by Elizabeth Lee O’Donnell to our students. It is the perfect descriptor of Jellybean’s statuesque position near the curb. In this dog-friendly community, it appears that an open garage door often results in the owner walking down the driveway with a small treat for the waiting dog. Oh, Jellybean, my little sweet pea, didn’t the Vet just tell us again last week you are a bit chubby, not yet obese, but a bit chubby? My, oh, my, what is this manipulated doggy mama to do?
Beverly Stiffler Smith