Dorothy turned 1 a few weeks ago and I realized I am still no closer to unlocking the puzzle of our walks. Some days Dorothy will trot along at my side, seemingly happy to walk and explore her surroundings. But at other times she will still lie down every few feet, roll over on her side and refuse to move.
She’ll run with glee to the dog park, run non-stop while there, but then collapse on the pavement when I try to get her to walk the seven blocks back. Not only does she lie down, but she will roll over with drama—and she tends to do this right when people are around, so that they will stop and ooh and ahh over her and offer her tidbits and liquids.
On the particular walk pictured above, I found a good stick a few feet after this picture was taken, so then Dorothy trotted at my side the whole way home, leaping up into the air every few feet to try to grab the stick.
Sometimes if we give her something to carry—a stick, an umbrella, a mitten—she’ll trot happily with the item in her mouth. Sometimes she can be coaxed on with treats, or with just a treat in the hand that isn’t given to her.
But the problem is one never knows if a tactic will be needed, and if so, what tactic will work. Getting angry tends to make her go boneless, which makes things worse.
People have suggested that it is the city that inhibits her walking. This is because when we visit the suburbs or the country, she walks like an angel. At Christmas, for example, my sister and I took her for a long walk in Winchester, MA—perhaps 4 or 5 miles—and she trotted alongside perfectly the entire time. She also seems to love a forest trail. But I suspect that the allure is that these walks are new, so that if she went on them daily, she would revert to her habit of willful collapse.
Plus, she loves to get attention from all the passers-by in the city, and only rarely seems bothered by the traffic or city noise.
So basically, when it comes to Dorothy and whether or not she will walk, I simply have no idea. Multiple times per day I just hook on her leash and hope for the best! And then try to remain zen if she ends up lying prostrate on the sidewalk.
Dorothy, thinking perhaps sneakers, boots, or Manolos would help: