In response to Oliver the parrot's good mood, I decided to take the big dogs for an early morning walk yesterday. We did a pretty fair job of doing a mile with minimal tangles, no tantrums and a brillaint, if slightly skitterish, three dog pass of a loading trash hauler.
None of this was obedience quality work, but day to day life doesn't require perfect form, and sometimes we (I) forget that. Greta is the least formally educated, but has the most desire to please of any dog I've ever owned, and is the easiest dog of all to take on errands. With her limp and faulty hip, competition is not possible, nor is the rigourous training, but for a stroll or a car ride, she is companion par excellante!
Grave little Ollie is showing the same skills. A desire to be with his human or his pack, a desire to please and follow orders, true delight at praise.
Cody embraces the spectacle of the walk more than the other two. Tail high, he struts and makes eye contact with the other, less fortunate dogs who are not able to walk down the street. A little large for the show ring, he has the perfect demeanor for it, aloof, but wanting to be noticed. Yet, because he doesn't like cars or crowds, strolling down the street with his pack is the perfect show venue for him.
A city dog needs the emotional release of a walk. My backyard can provide the physical exercise for my small dogs, but nothing but the act of strutting can provide the emotional release that is equally important. I am pleased to see more suburbian dwellers walking their dogs in the evening. A backyard really isn't enough for them or for us.