Starting Vaca the right way

I’ve taken the last 4 days off from running, Zeke has had off a few days more than that. I was starting to not enjoy running and being overall burnt out from work. I really don’t think I could’ve gone another day of a regular week. This morning when I woke up I still didn’t really want to go for a run but Zeke hadn’t run the trails in 2 weeks or more? so I did it for him. As usual, we had so much fun I’m back to enjoying running.

No watch, no gps, just me and my pup out for some fun. Met lots of nice runners, dogs, horses, ran some and walked some. Zeke really hates warm weather running as much as I do so we enjoyed the scenery and I didn’t beat myself up for taking walk and water breaks. I’m so glad I have my new running belt Nathan waist belt  …Zeke drank one of the 10oz water bottles in about 20 seconds after 3 miles.

Zeke’s behavior is improving again also. He is completely fine with horses now-not scared, exciting or wanting to chase, but he sits calmly in a sit and watches as they trot past. Walks where he becomes nervous, I have taken to being firmer with him. I ignore eye contact with him, stare straight ahead, stand up tall, grasp his leash loosely by my side but much more shortened and walk at a steady pace. I give him a few opportunities to sniff or pee but other than that we walk continuously. This has really seemed to help. I still pick up when he is nervous but he seems to cope better when I consciously assume the leader role. My Aunt Kathy told me to think in my head “Really, dude?” when he acts up. This makes me laugh because I can picture her saying this and not putting up with his freak outs so it helps me relax and stay focused. Every time I stop for a light or at a street corner he must sit next to me and wait for the ok to continue on. I also make him sit and wait until I tell him it is ok to go through the door when we arrive back home. Things I used to do but got out of the habit of doing. (;

I’ll never forget advice my Mom gave me when I first got him. The first few days his separation anxiety was TERRIBLE. I could not go in the other room without him howling, he would pace back and forth, never settling down, he would stare at me and bark. I called my mom in tears and said what do I do, he’s crazy!!! She replied, “he’s like a child, he doesn’t know what to do, you have to tell him how to act.” Never having owned  a dog before, or had children, I guess it was something very obvious that I had never thought about. My mom told me to have him lay down when he barked, or paced, or stared…that he needed me for direction. Then, when he started laying down and being calm on his own, I would reward him…with food or praise or a scratch. I think that is why to this day he is so good inside. An important early lesson that I need to remember to apply outdoors as well. When we are running I am constantly giving Zeke directions…left, right, stop, leave it, go sniff, go faster. When we walk i used to concentrate on having him not pull. Since he stopped pulling so much I think I became lax on the walks and at some point he taught himself to freak out over some unknown factors. I still don’t know if the theory is true and if he is better, but this week was better than last, and with two weeks off I have plenty of time to practice.

Tomorrow we head to upstate New York for two nights of camping fun!

Ethereal Zeke (i think my phone got sweaty)

Ethereal Zeke (i think my phone got sweaty)

big eyes watching horses

big eyes watching horses

chilling off in front of the fan

chilling off in front of the fan

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~ by manicivy on June 9, 2013.

One Response to “Starting Vaca the right way”

  1. Love it! Great post!! Happy vacation.

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