We went for a walk this evening. In 25 minutes we made it four houses away.
Not an auspicious start to our "walk X number of miles in 30 days plan." It's X number of miles because I haven't got that far in the plan yet to decide how many miles we'll do.lol Apparently our walking log will look like: Day 1: 400'
Oh well, it was all for a good 4 legged lesson.
So what happened four houses down? We were mugged by herd of children! No, don't be alarmed no one was injured or too permanently traumatized, they were a very nice herd of children. It started with two, then another little girl came out with her mom. That was interesting because the mom says to me, "Can she pet your dog with out getting her face chewed off?" By that point the first two kids were giving the girls treats and pets so I 'm thinking, "I hope so or these two little kids are in some serious trouble!"
Slowly three more little kids trickled out and joined the party. So here is me, Meeka, Maizey and FIVE kids all kneeling down on the side walk. Did I mention I don't have any kids? Yeah, me:no kids. I find when I'm by myself kids really aren't interested in me, apparently I'm pretty boring. But me and my girls? Now that's quality kid entertainment!
It went like this: us walking, Meeka perfect loose leash, Maizey on her new harness being a maniac because we are walking toward a scruffy black dog in a fence. Here comes two little kids, running, of course! I see them, I stop, put Meeka in a sit-stay and the kids of course run right up into the girls space, waving their hands and shouting, "Can we pet your dogs? Can we pet your dogs?"
Now here's is where it get's interesting. Maizey is still boinging around and shouting at the scruffy black dog, the scruffy black dog is boinging around and shouting back, the kids are boinging around and shouting at me, Meeka is sitting, but wiggling, a lot. Cute girl.
I answer the kids, "You can pet them, but you all have to be nice." I don't think they realized I meant them and the dogs.lol So I told them to ball up their fists, hold them out and put them under the girls noses, then they could pet under their chins. I had to keep reminding Meeka to sit, but she would. Meanwhile. . . Maizey continues her crazy act.(sigh)
So I told the kids to back up two big steps, think "Mother-May-I-" in reverse. It worked! The kids backed up and then I told them to stand still (is that a stand-stay for kids?) and I backed up until Maizey was under threshold and could sit and do a glance "watch". Then I told the kids to come forward very slowly. I kept cuing the girls to sit and marking it w/ a yes/treat. Soon enough the kids were giving the girls the treats and, thank goodness, everyone was a LOT calmer.
By this time the other kids had trickled in so I asked every one to squat down and we played a crazy game of "hand zen". Picture the girls in a sit, and 5 little hands held out palm up just out reach above their heads. I place one treat in each little palm and tell them to immediately close their hand. Then I had them sit still with hands closed and when the girls sat and were calm, not nosing towards the treats, one of the little kids would open their hand and the girls could take the treat. If things started getting too wild (of course they were wild! Five kids, two dogs and a me is not a recipe for calm!lol) but if they started getting too wild I just told every one to close their hand and cued a "leave it" to my girls. They did so good! And they had a blast.
Then the kids wanted to see some tricks so I put Maizey on a sit in the grass and showed them Meeka's wave, and hand shake. That really got them going because then they all wanted to "shake her hand." So I told them to all get in a single-file line and one at a time they came up and put out their hand for a Meeka hand shake and gave her a treat. It was adorable. Meanwhile I was able to keep working Maizey on being calm and maintaining her sit-stay. The kids kept saying, "Can Maizey do tricks?" Little did they know she was learning the hardest trick of all-self control!
All in all we didn't get our walk, but their truly was too many great 4 legged lessons to list. For the pups and kids!
- katie, Maizey and Magnus
- Lessons From and For 4 Legs has moved to a new address: http://www.lessonsfrom4legs.com. Where we will continue to learn life's lessons from my little Cavalier King Charles Spaniel's, Maizey and Magnus. Don't miss Meeka's lessons too, by checking the archives of my big girl rescue Rottie. They all teach me so much!