Losing Bear has shaken my confidence when it comes to dogs that are not safely attached to me with a leash. With Bumble, my fear was less about the road and more about him just running and never looking back, perhaps how he became a rescue dog in the first place. I don't know. But I also know that most dogs, once they see you as their leader that they love and adore, will follow you to the ends of the earth. It has become obvious to me that Bumble has bonded with me, and continues to bond with me as he learns the ropes, so today I did it. I let him run.
I started with a pocket full of treats and him on the leash, and we headed out back to the orchards. We stopped often so he could sit and get a treat, reinforcing the idea that I am simply the coolest nicest treat dispenser in the world. Worth noting: Bumble is highly motivated by food which makes training a whole lot easier. Once we were far enough from the house, I unhooked him. It took him a minute or so for him to realize he wasn't attached, and then he ran. He ran in circles, jumping and sniffing and looking pretty happy but also a bit confused. I called him over to me often, giving him a treat when he sat, and then sending him back to play. Once he realized that he could really really run, he would make huge circles, extending way out to the vineyards and back around, chasing up flocks of birds. He then did mad-dog circles around me with the biggest grin on his face I have ever seen. A couple of times I hooked him back up and we walked a bit together, and then I let him loose again so that he would realize if he was a good boy we could keep playing this game. He was perfect.
I could not be more pleased with Bumble's progression. He has settled into a dream dog, wagging his tail if you so much as look at him, and wagging his whole body if you speak to him. He is a cuddly guy, not able to get close enough, just starving for love. A few issues involve his anxiety when we leave the house - he is clearly a wreck about desertion - but he has improved a lot. He also is nervous if we have anything in our hands, including nail clippers, phone and cameras (makes it tough to get pics) but he is slowly improving there, too. He barks less at the goats and is not mirroring their insanity as much as he once did, but that, too, is still a work in progress.
We got ourselves a winner, and I'm pretty sure Bumble is happy about his new life, too.
|Every photo with Bumby is blurry because he never stops moving!