The past couple of days we’ve had quite some problem to let sir Oliver walk his route. We’ve got 3 different routes for each 3 daily walk moments. All within a distance of 30-45 minutes distance from the house. All routes start with leaving the front garden and turn left, at the moment sir Oliver refuses to turn left and then refuses to go anywhere.
I read quite some information about being in charge, leading your dog and show him who’s the boss. Especially with Beagles who can be very independent, some call it stubbornness, and they will take the lead if you are not. The last thing we want is a dog that doesn’t listen and is a danger to himself while walking the streets.
Therefore I have been gently forcing sir Oliver, and a bit more forcing him to walk his route, the route he seemed to enjoy up until a few days ago. We couldn’t find anything that was changed that would trigger sir Oliver so much, that he yesterday even refused to go out of the house. Forcing him and pulling and pushing him to get himself through that initial point, to eventually enjoy the walk, became a bit stressful to me. My daughter asked me to not be too forceful and being soft on him got me neither anywhere. So I felt stuck in the middle of it. Some walks he would tremble and have his tail between his hind legs, other moments he would wiggle his tail and skewed his head a bit, going full in his independent Beagle stance, all resulting in not walking his route as I had planned.
On top of that I was a bit frustrated with my daughter for not starting the clicker training soon enough to my liking and not being consistent with it. Where I was directly confronted with the consequences, when walking on the leash with sir Oliver. Once we talked about him not being trained yet and what the consequences of it already are, we agreed on how to proceed, and I suggested to do the same thing I had done that morning. Walking sir Oliver’s route clockwise instead of counterclockwise. After all doing it once wasn’t providing enough physical evidence that it would work.
This time there was no struggle while going out of the house or garden and sir Oliver walked his route with a wiggly tail and hardly any independent behavior. So the only thing we changed was the direction of the route and at first it felt like giving in and not being strict enough. Though within changing direction, by seeing that he was not resistant when going clockwise, I was directing again and not loosing myself within frustration and stress. Then I looked at it from a parenting point of view.
As a parent of a child one can pick everything there is to fight about or one breaths through all the minor and major points and chooses where to be strict and where the child needs to obey for it’s own well being and that of his environment.
That’s what I did with sir Oliver as well. I asked myself how bad it actually was to walk clockwise instead of counterclockwise, and I could not see the difference. I could not see another outcome other than when going counterclockwise everybody was very stressful creating more outflows than desirable. So from now on I will pick my ‘fights’ with sir Oliver carefully and really see what or if it makes a difference and what practical solutions are here. I cannot look inside of sir Oliver’s head, I cannot see if he’s wanting to get his way, if there is really such thing with dogs. In my perspective he is simply following his nose and has no hesitations caused by thoughts, emotions or fake fears.
Since I was able to let the ‘fight’ go, sir Oliver became much more happy and cooperative. That makes me happy as well and our walks enjoyable again. Changing direction isn’t something bad as long as we’re directing ourselves within it and as long as the outcome is not harming anyone. In fact it is quite liberating to let go and change into the fields of the seemingly unknown.