Saturday, April 7, 2007

Reason #19 -Walking Clubs & Tours

Another big reason to move to San Francisco is walking.  There's no winter snow covering to roads for half the year.  In an 49 square mile area, I could walk anywhere I wanted to go.  There are walking clubs, and walking tours

Top 10 Walking Cities for 2007

Top 10 Best Fitness-Walking Cities of 2007
1. Madison, WI: Adopted a walker-friendly plan 10 years ago, and it shows.
2. Austin, TX: 50 trails, from a quarter to 10 miles long.
3. San Francisco, CA: The most parks per square mile.
4. Charlotte, NC: 40% of its residents walk for exercise.
5. Seattle, WA: Gorgeous views of Puget Sound and snowcapped mountains.
6. Henderson, NV: With an average yearly rainfall of 4.5 inches, you can walk everyday.
7. San Diego, CA: A unique choice of beach, desert and mountain routes.
8. San Jose, CA: Perfect walking weather; average temp 61 degrees and low humidity.
9. Chandler, AZ: 6.5 miles of traffic-free walking on its Paseo Trail.
10. Virginia Beach, VA: A low crime rate and a boardwalk allow safe, fun strolling.

It's 9:15 in the morning, and I've already walked 4.45 miles in one hour and 15 minutes. 
It occurred to me that I need to train the dogs to walk politely on sidewalks and stop at crosswalks for walking in San Francisco. Which is Reason #19 for Moving to San Francisco. 
So I started to re-train them for walking politely.  Normally, they're like the picture above. 
Which goes against what Cesar Melan says to do.  By letting the dogs in front of me, I've given them pack leader status, and I'm just a mere pee-on.  The pee-on that feeds them, but a pee-on nonetheless.  A pee-on that has to pick up their poopies too.  Cesar has employees to do the dirty work, I'm sure, so don't talk to me about pack leader status. 
They pull me along for the first couple of minutes cause they're so excited, but then they calm down, and don't pull at all.  So I argue with Cesar in my head, saying that ultimately, I am still the boss, cause after 3 -4 sharp tugs on the leash, they quit pulling.  Course, that smart ass Cesar says that if I were truly the pack leader, they wouldn't EVER pull.  But, I say...I prefer them in front of me, so I can see what they're doing.  Muttin makes me nervous if she's behind me and I can't see her.   
While they smell the 40 gazillion bushes, posts, trees and random other dog poops, they often lag behind me, but as soon as they feel the resistance because the leash has run out, they either run to catch up with me, or they continue doing their doggie thing behind me while keeping up.  You might think I'm constantly stopping for them, or I'm constantly tugging them either front or back, but tis not true.  I rarely stop walking, and they get double/triple the work-out, cause they're going frontwards and backwards, over and over.   
Here we have Muttin pulling ahead, which is very irritating for me and Jeffrey.  He's such a good dog, staying on the right path, but she gets a wild whiff and darts hither and yon, and he gets a stiff neck from trying to stand his ground.  Because she's pulling, I can tug her back a little bit, without it tugging on Jeffery. 
Stiff necks anyone? 
Muttin trying to go the wrong way.  Jeffrey yelling about it.  For some reason, Muttin ALWAYS is on the left. 
Doesn't she look industrious and purposeful?  You can see how when I tug back, she's the one who's going to feel it and then she'll stay even with Jeffrey.  Till the next whiff of strange poop, cat, or daisy that comes wafting by. 
This is what they need to do in San Francisco.  Be right by my side, and according to Cesar, just slightly behind.  Yea yea yea. 
The number one problem in training anything on these dogs is me.  Yup.  I freely admit it.  One day, it's "Sidewalk" for keeping them off the grass.  The next day, it's "Off the grass!"  You can understand their confusion.  Then I thought I'd just teach them to "Stop", so they'd hold still while I made up my damn mind.  I've got them pretty well trained to stay on the sidewalk in the last 2 days, but naturally, Muttin had to up the anty.  She now goes up the sidewalks and driveways on each house we come to, hence staying off the grass, but not exactly my point. 
As much of a brat that she is, she is the one who is tuned in to me at all times.  When I call her, she comes running.  Every time.  Except when she runs away.  Thats my fault too.  Cause if I'd notice her going past the invisible boundary and call - she'd come back.  It's when I'm not paying attention that she goes past the point of no return.  That's when Jeffrey comes to sit in front of my face.  He won't give up until I finally realize he's trying to tell me something and we make eye contact. 
Me:  Did she run again?
He:  (Looks in the direction he last saw her)
Me:  Which way did she go? 
He: (Looks again in the direction he last saw her).  (Again)
Me:  Don't get smart with me, young man. 
He:  Call her.  (He won't let up on me until I call her)
Me:  mutter mutter mutter damn she dog.
He:  (mutter mutter mutter damn she dog)
Me:  She'll be back.  She always does.  Relax.
He:  I know, but what if she falls into the dungeon?
Me:  Dungeon? 
He:  You know... the dungeon.  All jails have dungeons. 
Me:  Where did you learn that? 
He:  Pirates of the Caribbean.

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