Tuesday morning I wanted to take Cricket for a jog. We had had a busy three day weekend with lots of play time in the yard. Monday afternoon my sister and I took Sheba and Luke for a 4 mile walk. Cricket stayed home with Dad….she had been playing all morning, and she does most of the running/work when we’re playing fetch, so I figured we’d take the other two to get some more exercise. However, I wanted Cricket to get an outing too.
I spent a little time on the computer while waiting for the darkness to lift, and the temperatures to rise just a bit. I happened to read a blog post at Something Wagging This Way Comes, titled “Stop Stressing Out Your Dog“. The idea behind Pamela’s post (you can click on the title to read it yourself) is that perhaps our dogs are stressed because we make almost all of their choices for them, causing them frustration by never giving them any control over their lives.
We headed out and walked a bit before I broke into a jog. Only Cricket didn’t join me……she lagged behind. She clearly didn’t want to jog. She does this from time to time but usually gives in when I persist. But then I thought of Pamela’s post and decided not to persist. What would it hurt me to walk instead of jogging, if that’s what Cricket wanted? She was probably tired after our busy weekend. So we went at her pace. I still got to jog a little when she sped up, but mostly she had her nose to the ground smelling the fall smells. Believe it or not, that is unusual for our little beagle. I have written before about how Cricket’s walking style is usually to pull forward and go, go, go, which is one of the reasons I’ve chosen her to jog with.
We had headed towards the Christmas tree farm, but when we came to the path that leads to a small pond, I let her choose to go that way. We have deer in the area and she was probably following their trails. We don’t often walk past the pond because I’m not sure who that property belongs to and don’t want to be intruding, even though the closest house is the other side of the pond. Since it was the middle of the day on a weekday I figured no one would be around anyway.
As we approached the mown field at the top of the hill above the pond, I looked out and saw a house that sits on the opposite hill. We can’t really see too much of that house from the road, but I know it’s for sale, and I have dreamed of buying it. It’s far more private than our house, and away from the paved street which our house sits close to. Plus it overlooks this lovely little pond! The original plan for the subdivision we are part of was for there to be a pond at the bottom of our property, but that never happened. This house, however, is way out of our price range.
When we had our house built in 1993, we had bought the first lot that was part of this same subdivision. Our lot was one of two on the paved main road, and the rest are off of this side street, and larger than ours. We bought what we could afford at the time which was a smaller lot. Our original house was very small, though we have expanded quite a bit over the years. There were no houses down here, there wasn’t even a tree farm or a pond back then. We used to walk down here with our first dog Shelby, making a big loop on a dirt road and trails with nothing but the woods and signs of wildlife to see.
I realized where Cricket had led me was part of the original path we used to take years ago. I tried to remember exactly where it had gone, because there were two trails leading away from the field and towards the house closest to the pond. It looks so different now that I can’t be sure. But I enjoyed the memories that flooded back as we stood there. Later when reflecting, I also gained a new appreciation for my own home and all we have done to it over the years to make it into the home we wanted. We may never have that pond down below us, but we are now in the process of finishing our screen porch into a 4 season porch that we can enjoy year round. We have our own house on a hill with beautiful views of the mountains.
I have two points to make here. One is that exercising with your dog can be good for your mind and spirit as well as your body. The other is that we can sometimes give our dogs freedom to make a choice when it comes to their own fitness and what they want to do or where they want to go. Cricket likes fetch more than walks or runs, so we try to do both with her with more of an emphasis on fetch. If you let your dog sometimes follow their nose or their instincts, you may find that they lead you both someplace unexpected and enjoyable.
We are joining the FitDog Friday blog hop. Thank you to our blog hop hosts SlimDoggy, To Dog With Love and MyGBGVLife. Please visit their sites and others through the links below to learn more about keeping your dogs fit and happy!
Looks like you had an enjoyable outing and everyone got what they needed – exercise, sniffing, and choices.
Thanks, I think we did! 🙂
That looks like a fun exercise routine and some very pretty scenery! Hey, I was born on a Christmas Tree Farm!
I think I remember reading that about you, Brian, that is a pretty neat place to be born.
Dogs N Pawz says
I have never really thought about giving my dogs a choice and I really don’t know why! From now on it’s something I will consider. Thanks for the post. I loved the pictures and what a great place to have a house! Lucky you!
I hadn’t thought of it either really before reading Pamela’s post. I’m glad I was able to pass along the idea!
Thanks, we really are lucky!
Love the pics of your house and neighborhood. It has all changed so much, but you guys still have the best spot and view..and the Best doggies too, of course! <3
Thanks, Sheryl. I have to agree with all of that! 🙂
This is a great post Jan. I felt like I was right along with you on your sniffing journey, wondering what was next. An excellent reminder (and something I really needed today) about the unexpected joy we get from our pets. Thanks!
Thank you, Bethany. Sometimes exercising with the dogs can seem like a chore, so it’s nice sometimes to really get some extra enjoyment out of it.
Tenacious Little Terrier says
I let Mr. N choose where we’re going if I don’t have a particular destination in mind. We just went to the corn maze a few days ago and I let Mr. N choose where he wanted to go. He got us out of the maze!
That’s awesome! I’ve never been in one of those corn mazes but they sound like fun. I’d probably need a dog to help me find my way out too though!
Dolly the Doxie says
We think those are very good points to make! Mom tries to recognize when I want to do something, she used to get very frustrated trying to take me for walks when I wouldn’t cooperate. And I always walk with my nose to the ground, if she lets me, otherwise we would never get anywhere! Love Dolly
Luke right now is at the point where he’s difficult to walk….always with his nose to the ground. Must be that Dachshund in him!
Talent Hounds says
What a beautiful area to live and play. If it were up to Kilo to decide were we ended up I think it would be the treat store or a neighbours yard to chase a cat BOL.
BOL….most of our neighbor’s houses sit back off the road and we never see any cats. No treat stores within walking distance either….so following a deer scent is pretty much the only option! 🙂
Sand Spring Chesapeakes says
What a great walk down memory lane, way to go Cricket, sometimes we just need to let them make the decisions. Have a great weekend.
Their decisions don’t turn out to be all bad! 🙂
Hope you are having a great weekend too!
M. K. Clinton says
What a lovely place to walk. I love your house on the hill and if you get to see mountains, well, that’s even better!
Our view of the mountains really is wonderful, though things have grown up so much over the years, it’s not nearly what it was when we first built our house!
Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady says
This was a wonderful post!
I thank you for sharing it. Your right, it can definitely help the mind as well as the body. BTW I love your house on a hill!!! Just beautiful!
ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
Thank you so much, Jenna! I’m so glad you enjoyed this post. 🙂
A great story, just that little difference in your walk gave you a different perspective and appreciation for your neighborhood – which is beautiful by the way – the fall colors kicking in and will be great in another week!
It really was just unexpected and I was so glad it went the way it did….it really cleared my head for the rest of the day too. Our fall colors are on their way out now though, we are past peak and recent rain and wind has really taken a lot of the leaves off the trees!
Barley usually doesn’t get to make too many choices about where we go–part of dealing with her reactivity is giving her lots of direction and guidance. Like 2 brown dawgs, Barley seems to thrive on routine and she gets very anxious when there are surprises–but I do let her pick the pace as long as we don’t have to be home at a certain time and sometimes I’ll let her decide which direction to turn. It sounds like you and Cricket had a great walk, though!
We did have a great walk, thank you! I totally understand the importance of sticking to routines with reactive dogs, and there are certainly other ways to add some variety like just letting them select the pace and direction occasionally as you said. I’m learning the importance of ways to keep our dogs’ attention on us.
2 brown dawgs says
You live in such a beautiful area and I know you have a lovely yard. 🙂 That pond looks wonderful. 🙂 You may remember that I do not allow choices when I walk our dogs. They go where I want and remain at heel. But they get all kinds of choices and fun when they hunt (particularly upland). I think it is a good mix. We have found that our dogs thrive on routine and knowing what to expect so we kind of hold to that.
It does sound like you have a good mix, and I know what you mean about how important routine is. Luke is trying to learn to heel now, so we definitely try not to let him make any choices, we’re trying to teach him to do what we want at this point!
We do live in a beautiful area, and love our yard, but wouldn’t it be fun to have a pond at the bottom of it? 🙂
Mom does let us decide things on walks sometimes, but with our noses, it we are too intent, she stops us as it is usually following something she doesn’t want us meeting or getting into. Glad you followed a bit and got to a place you haven’t been in a while. It seems to have opened up new thoughts for you as well. Thanks for joining the hop.
I was thinking about that with Cricket for sure. But we had seen some deer tracks, so I was pretty sure it was deer she was following. Where we were it could have been bear too, so I definitely kept an eye out ahead of us!