I don’t know about you, but taking our dogs for a walk requires preparation on a military scale. I should mention here that we have 2 Golden Retrievers, both of whom think they are Marley, and both try very hard to maintain Marley-like standards at all times. This means that making their owners look daft at every turn is at the very core of their being. It’s a retriever trait apparently… but we didn’t know that at the beginning.
Back to the walk…
To get to the big park for a long walk requires a car trip, but before even getting into the car there’s the effort to get the leads out and on without the dogs seeing them. Why you might ask, would you want to hide the leads?
Well, once seen, Harry careens manically around the kitchen, grabbing at the lead, or the collar, or anything that resembles dog walking equipment, to shake it around vigorously. The result is that the large and very solid metal clip demolishes everything it touches, nevermind the damage it inflicts on any person daft enough to get too close.
Calmly, a request is made for the equipment to be released. After several increasingly exasperating attempts, including tugs, then pulling, it becomes apparent that the humans are now entering the fray. At this point Harry instantly releases the lead/collar, the tension is also released, and the human is left gyrating alone with the lead/collar combo, looking decidedly daft. That done, the lead/collars are put on and a general migration to the garage and the car takes place.
Now it’s Monty’s turn to cause havoc as best he can. Sitting excitedly at the boot of the car with his now calm brother, he whines to get in and looks expectantly at the closest human, in the hope they intervene. Bear in mind this is a 4×4 vehicle, so it’s quite a step up, but these are big dogs, after all. A mere jump should do it, but no, there’s no jump. There’s no attempt to get in at all.
Manfully, one of the assembled humans steps forward, lifting first Harry into the boot, and then, turning to Monty attempts to do the same. It’s a simple process: lift his front legs onto the floor of the boot, then heave his butt end up and into the vehicle. At least that’s the theory, and it worked with Harry. Monty however, was having none of it.
Just bear in mind that this is a 30kg dog being manhandled into the car. As his butt end is lifted, he swiftly braces his front legs and stiffens his body. There’s no way this dog is going into the car willingly. Huffing with the effort, one last shove manages to upend him into the boot where he lands in an undignified heap.
Once at the park though sheer joy takes over and the hunt begins for every puddle of the blackest mud around. Once found they both wallow happily, shaking themselves off gleefully, mere inches from the clean, if slightly sweaty, human-dog handlers.
At the end of the hour-long walk, leaving the park is the same process in reverse. However, this time everyone… dogs and humans… are wet, muddy and somewhat stinky.
At some point, it might be a good idea to simply accept who’s the boss and forgo the power struggle. At which point it will be firmly established that actually, Monty’s the boss… and then we can all go on to live happily ever after.