This evening was a big one for Duke. He went on his first walk with us! I promise this is a bigger deal than what it sounds like. When we first brought Duke home, he was absolutely terrified of the little lanyard leash he came on and avoided it at all costs, crouching and hiding whenever he would see me grab it. It took a good week or two to even get him in his collar since he was so scared to have something put around his neck. But he embraced the collar well enough that I had hope for someday getting him in a harness for a walk. It’s important to me to equip Duke as much as we can for his forever home and I thought getting him to walk well on a leash would be a great trait for him to have.
Well, last weekend we get him a harness, an Easy Walk like we have for Wrigley (I highly recommend these harnesses, they’re great at preventing dogs from pulling you along). I had the harness out and around Duke last Saturday to help him get used to the smell so it wouldn’t seem like such a foreign object later. I’m not too sure how much this “introduction time” actually helped since getting it on him was a bit of a project. As soon as I tried putting the harness over his head, he bolted. After finding him in his crate, I was eventually able to get it on him and slowly tighten it so it would fit him better. He was freaking out a bit at first, jumping and trying to twist his way out of the harness and occasionally trying to bite it (we took it off of him after about 20 minutes to help calm him back down). Well, today we gave it another try. It was easier to get the harness on him but he was a bit thrown off at the leash, not budging when I would try to pull him. Luckily he began to follow my tugging and followed us out the door with Wrigley showing him how a walk is done. Who would have thought Wrigley would set a good example at something? :)
It was a short walk just up and down our street, but it was a big step for Duke. Halfway through our walk he seemed to relax more while following Chip and Wrigley and wasn’t trying to twist around as much to gain some control. He was even walking nicely beside me at certain points and seemed to enjoy his time outside by the end of it. He was still pretty relieved when we came home and ran straight for the crate, but I’m proud of how well he did on his first walk. I know he’ll only continue to get better at these!