Baby Steps!

With the glorious weather that we’ve been experiencing, the urge to go for a walk with Ray has been overwhelming.  I love taking walks when the weather is nice and have had visions of walking with my dog for quite some time now.  As we’ve discovered, though, at just over three months old, Ray is not ready for the hikes I’ve envisioned.  Last night would have been a perfect evening for a walk.  While we grilled some steaks Ray played in the yard, investigated everything with a scent to it and ignored the two little neighbor dogs who insist on charging the fence and barking at Ray.  Yes!  Good boy.
 These are Ray’s “paying really close attention” ears.
Knowing that I was probably setting my expectations way too high and had really set us up for failure, I decide to take a few steps back and referred to the Lily Fireworks/Lolly Wonderdog school of desensitizing.  In my typical fashion I actually started obsessing about the string cheese Lily and her mom used.  Should I shred it? Chop it? Stuff a whole stick in Ray’s mouth?  Have it ready?  I decided to peel it into strings and have all of that ready in a small bowl.  Off we went to the front yard.  We picked a spot more than half way away from the house but not too close to the street.  I secured Ray’s leash around my foot and we just waited until a vehicle approached and JACKPOT!  I got his attention/eye contact and began stuffing string cheese in his mouth until the vehicle passed.  It worked pretty well, too.  There were a few times he was ready for cheese but we didn’t have a vehicle to distract and a couple of times he still sneaked a peek out of the corner of his eye, but all in all it really started to work.  It worked so well that we made it back to the house and he only grabbed his leash once, but immediately let go. 
Ah, baby steps, how I love thee.
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