Monday, September 5, 2011

Dog Blog - Personalities - August 28, 2011

I have six dog clients and each has a unique personality.  I should say that Puget Pets screens to ensure the dogs are fairly well behaved and not biters.  Probably, the last thing anyone wants is to have a supposedly friendly pet take a chunk out of your hand or leg.  (I won't use their real names in this piece.)

Gina is a young mastiff living in a Pioneer Square condo.  She is such a sweet girl.  During the transition from her previous walker to me, I was a little unsure of a dog that size.  She bounded up wanting to be petted,  recognizing we were going for a walk.   It's probably difficult spending most of your day inside a confined space so Gina is happy to get out into the fresh air.

Over the two months of walks, I discovered what a gentle, shy dog she is.  When I enter the condo, she rushes up wagging her tail enthusiastically.   We  stroll the Pioneer Square area which doesn't have much in the way of large parks.  Our routine takes us through plazas and smaller parks where there are planters and grass which she can smell.  Sometimes we come across small dogs who startle her with their shrill and incessant  yaps.  She has found confidence in a Pepe, a tiny Chihuahua, and bends to rub noses with him in City Park.

Dolly, another Pioneer Square inhabitant,  is a Wheaton Terrier.  She can be challenging because she doesn't like to stray far from home.  When she decides she doesn't want to continue, she'll sit or lay down on the pavement, digging her heels in like a spoiled child.  She primarily likes walking with George, a wonderful gentleman Corgi.  Together, they play for hours in bursts of energy.  They wrestle, chase and roll over each other giving friendly nips.

When Dolly spots other dogs being walked, she'll rear up and give her high bark.  She's challenging them or often wants to meet.  George meanwhile remains calm and low key, ignoring her.  He's more interested in the details on the things smell...what they are and what he can find.  He reminds me a bit of a fastidious butler.   He's organized, smart and keeps things on track...Mr. Reliable.

After the walks in Pioneer Square, I drove to Rainier Valley.  The first dog walked is Bee Bee, a very young Golden Lab.  She's a joy and still a pup, not quite a year old.   She loves to chew, as so many pups do. Initially, she was nervous because I was a stranger.  She'd bark when I entered her family home.

Once on leash, her enthusiasm for a walk rises.  She becomes all about learning.  Obedience commands became essential.  During our walks, we practice "sit", "stay", "down", "come", "heel" and "fetch".  She's also allowed a little off-leash time where she'll chase a tennis ball.  Bee Bee is filledwith energy and I like the sparkle in her eyes when she wants to play keep away.   She's mischievous and, off-leash, doesn't alway follow commands.

Bridin, a Setter-mix, prances through the neighborhood. Her long-hair's well-combed and she's very alert.  She remembers yards where she's rousted a cat and trees where she's spotted a squirrel.  On passing them, she assumes a hunting posture before lurching to chase.

She ignores some fenced dogs that bark as she passes.  She recognizes them as no threat.  If she doesn't know the dog, she'll return growls and jump in the air.  Her curiosity doesn't know bounds.  One oddity occurs when we pass a large statue of a horned-owl that the homeowner placed on the steps leading to a house.  It's eyes are wide and glare.  When Briden saw the bird, she sniffed the air and took a hunting stance.  Stonelike, she must have thought it was unfriendly,  growled and barked .

My final dog, Lucy is a German shephard.  For now, she's on hold and doesn't get walked while her family addresses some personal issues.   Lucy is a powerful, free spirit.  She loves going to the local park which is a few blocks down hill from her house.   There, she runs off-leash playing.   On Lake Washington, she dives into the water, rushing back and forth biting each wave.  You throw rocks into the water and she'll pretend to fetch them, diving headfirst into the surf.