One Step Forward, Three Steps Back

I’ve been bad. I haven’t been walking Bailey everyday, as I know I should. By the time I get home from work, study, and take care of everything that needs to be done it is time to get to bed and start all over again. Most people say they don’t have time, but you know better because they are playing games on their phone, watching TV, goofing off on Facebook… you get the idea. I make it a point to play with Bailey for at least 15 minutes when I get home, but aside from that I really am short on time. If she wasn’t reactive I would hire someone to help out. As one day of walking was missed, and another, I really felt awful and wanted to do something about the situation. I decided that since I didn’t have time when I got home from work I would take Bailey for a bike ride in the mornings. Any exercise is better than nothing. This worked for a short time, but I didn’t want her to suffer an injury from running so much. Plus, the temperatures have been steadily rising. To make matters worse, there are lots of people to avoid in the morning, more so than late at night.

This weekend I got back into the routine of walking Bailey at night because the semester is almost over and the workload is lightening up. My husband goes with me 99% of the time, but he did not tonight because he wasn’t feeling well. The new Sporn no-pull harness I bought worked like a charm both nights. I had one for Bruiser until he grabbed it one day and chewed it in half. It worked beautifully for him, so I decided to give it a try on Bailey. For the price, I figured it couldn’t hurt. We passed a jogger, and to my complete shock she didn’t growl, but instead kept looking to me for guidance. I couldn’t believe it! We have had many triumphs and setbacks over the years though, so I wanted to make sure it wasn’t just a fluke. We passed several other dogs and the same scene played out. I was elated! I hypothesized that the Gentle Leader that she used to wear over her mouth may have caused her to be more reactive because it made her feel somewhat trapped. Just a guess.

All was well until we looped back to head home. As expected, two dogs came running from their yard barking and growling. These are the same dogs I have encountered numerous times before. The situation is always dangerous, especially when I’m on my bike. The worst part was that this evening I was alone, so I had to juggle Bailey as she bounced around and try to spray the dog repellant spray I always carry with me. I’m so incredibly angry that their irresponsible owner refuses to heed the leash law and prevent her dogs from roaming the neighborhood. I don’t have an issue with the dogs themselves, because I know they don’t know any better. In fact, I worry all the time that they are going to be hit by a car, attacked by larger dogs, picked up by someone with ill intent, etc. This is one of countless times I have been confronted with these two and I have had enough. I know Bailey would make a lot more progress if we didn’t encounter loose dogs on our walks and rides. If anyone out there has a suggestion I am all ears! Animal Control will not do anything, so I’m at a loss.

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