Leo has a new nickname. Leo stands for Leonidas, but we call him Leo Bug most of the time. Sometimes Buggie. You see where this is going.
Rob’s been listening to Notorious B.I.G. in the car on the way to his jogs with Leo, also known as the Bug Jog. Leo, much like his mother, does not seem to be crazy about the actual jogging part. He gasses out after a lap or two, and requires a lot of encouraging to carry on.
However, Rob, the supportive and tireless coach, reports that Leo does not bark at bicycles and other dogs while jogging.
Jen deHaan was really onto something in this DOGthusiast post.
Meanwhile, I’m still working on classical conditioning with Leo. I take him to a big parking lot near a skate and bike park. Sometimes we have very peaceful walks. Sometimes I can get him close enough to the wheeled people that he sees them, yet far enough away that he doesn’t bark at them. Sometimes I totally beef it by cutting through an apartment complex to drop the poop bag in a dumpster and he winds up barking and lunging at an innocent bystander.
Unfortunately, he’s been seeming more reactive in the car, barking at everyone he sees, not just joggers, dogs, and wheeled people. It’s so bad that I ordered a Calming Cap to see if that helps. (I ordered the Thundershirt brand because Premier is now owned by a company that makes shock collars. So I guess I no longer endorse Easy Walk harnesses either. Here are some alternatives I haven’t tried myself.)
The other day, I walked the dogs together and when we got back in the car, I played Rob’s Biggie Smalls’ CD. Leo sat in the front seat, and shined the most relaxed, happy smile. He didn’t bark at anything on the way home. Obviously, he found Biggie to be calming.
I played Biggie again tonight on our way to the bike/skate park and Leo didn’t bark at a thing. Not on the way there, not on the walk, not on the way back… until a skateboard sped by on the sidewalk, startling us both. I forgive him because, come on, this was an epic walk.
At one point, we were in the middle of the parking lot, mellow as a spring evening at dusk, and Leo calmly looked away from the skaters, over to a couple of girls getting in their car after soccer practice, back to me. I rewarded him with some Ziwi Peak venison, and was thinking, Damn, I’m proud of you, kid, when a couple of bikes whizzed by on the sidewalk. I turned and ran in the other direction.
Yes. I ran.
And Leo glanced over his shoulder like, Hey, I’m supposed to bark at wheeled people, and I just kept running, and he came with me, and he did not bark and he did not lunge. And I was so proud.
Incidentally, he didn’t used to be into hip hop. When he was a pup, he bumped the volume on the car radio to turn up Twisted Sister’s We’re Not Going to Take It. Another time, he changed the station to the same song.
My mom’s Lhasa apso, Barney, was a big fan of Cyndi Lauper. One time when she was on Late Night with Conan, Barney fixed his eyes on her each time she performed, having shown no prior interest in the television.
Do your dogs have a favorite singer?
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