This Is How We Move It

Remember when I told you that my workout plan has pretty much gone to shit?

And remember when I told you that this wasn’t going to turn into an “all about Mack” blog?

Well, clearly I don’t know what I”m talking about and can’t be trusted!

The process of training this little (not so little) guy is exhausting! And I’ve decided that “official” workouts might not be necessary.

I have learned that I need to not compare him to Jake, which is difficult since he looks so much like my Jake did. I’m sure that when Jake was a puppy that we went through frustrating times during training, but he lived so long that I have forgotten any irritating puppy-hood habits, and only remember the perfect, well-mannered adult dog that he grew to be. I have to remind myself constantly that Mack will grow up to be a perfect, well-mannered dog, too, but that I have to pay my dues with him and put in the effort with him just like I did with his predecessor.

Two nights ago when I took Mack to the lake for our daily walk/leash training excursion, I saw a glimpse of his stubborn streak. We made it around the lake once, and he immediately headed for the car to go home. I have noticed that whenever we do a loop, he’s ready to go home, but when I do an out and back he’ll walk for quite a long. When we finished our loop he headed to the car to go home. I turned towards the path to remind him that he doesn’t call the shots. I do. He fought the leash, so I stopped, said his name, told him to sit. He looked mildly confused. Sit? In the middle of the pathway? Absurd. He stood there and stared at me. I said, “Mack. Sit!” Down goes his butt. “Good Mack. Good sit.” Rub the ears. Kiss his face. “Now, let’s go for a walk.” He gets up from his sit position and continues walking with me. About 10 steps and then his brain reminded him that he wanted to go to the car. He turned and pulled against the leash to head back to the car. “MACK. Sit!” Down goes the butt. “Good Mack. Good Sit.” Ear scritches. Face kisses. Blubbering words of praise. “Now, let’s go for a walk.” Up he gets and continues on down the path. We kept up this process all the way across the dam until he quit fighting me to return to the car. At which point, what did I do? Well, naturally, I said, “OK, let’s go home.” And we turned and headed towards the car. He doesn’t realize that I can out-stubborn him any day of the week.

I think I can, anyway!

Last night I got home and told him we were going outside to potty. I walked to the top of the stairway to head downstairs. Oh, hell no! He was NOT going to go downstairs. He was NOT going to outside. He was going to stay upstairs with the cats and the people. I coerced and coerced and presented treats as I backed down the stairs trying to get him to follow me. He would have nothing to do with it. I was so frustrated with him! I walked into the kitchen, took him by the scruff of his neck and said, “We are going downstairs!!!” Once we got across the kitchen to the top stair he went down the stairs on his own, but holy hell, I was irritated! When we got downstairs I said, “Downstairs.” Then I went to sit on the couch where he likes to snuggle and he hopped right up to snuggle with me. Same torment going outside. Bizarre, too, because he’s never fought me about going outside. Once we got outside he did a courtesy potty for me. Two drops perhaps. Then I said, “Let’s go inside.” He RAN to the door and inside the house. I said, “OK, let’s go upstairs.” He RAN up the stairs and was waiting for me with his Berner grin at the top of the stairs. I scratched his ears, kissed his head, told him “good boy.” Then reached in the fridge to get some turkey breast that I had roasted the day before. It’s the only food that he really, really likes. I showed him the turkey breast and said, “Downstairs.” He stared at me a minute and I walked to the top of the stairs with the turkey breast in hand. Standing on the top of the stairs, I held out the turkey and said, “Mack. Downstairs.” He inched towards the stairs and then quickly ran down them. I gave him his treat, told him how good he was, rubbed his ears, then “Let’s go outside.” Leery again, he just stared at me. I walked out the back door with turkey in tow and after a little hesitation he headed out the door. “Good boy.”

“Let’s go inside.” treat

“Let’s go upstairs.” treat

“Let’s go downstairs.” Hesitation. Down the stairs. treat

“Let’s go outside.” treat

“Let’s go inside.” treat

“Let’s go upstairs.” treat

“Let’s go downstairs.” Less hesitation. Down the stairs. treat

“Let’s go outside.” treat

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

We did this for about 20 minutes. Up and down and out and in and up and down and out and in.

I think it wore him out!!

I think it wore him out!!

BUT….when it was time to go to bed last night I said, “Let’s go downstairs.” He stood in the kitchen staring at me. I stood at the top of the stairs not saying a word, with my arms folded across my chest. We stared at each other. And he caved! Down the stairs he went. We snuggled on the couch for about five minutes, went outside to potty, then went night-night.

This morning he went out and pottied. Went upstairs with me while I got dressed. Went back downstairs and out back where he spends the morning while I’m at work. Progress!

Also….my legs are SORE!!!! It’s a new sort of workout plan for me. Running stairs with the pup.


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