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A Trip Across the Street

Julie Bacon Dog Care Puppies Training

Other possible titles for this post:

How I nearly killed my puppy.
Alternate ways to test your heart health.
New ways to proof a command.
Sometimes sh*t just happens.

So there I was, bravely walking all three of my dogs on an unseasonably warm afternoon. Sun shining. Birds singing. Dogs getting the hang of this odd dance across suburban sidewalks on Flexi-leads*. We were all having a lovely time.

We were on the "back" part of our out-and-back walk when I saw someone coming up the path in the opposite direction. I gathered everyone into me and stepped to the side only to have the pedestrian turn and head across the crosswalk. Trip, my almost-four-month-old puppy, wanted to greet the friendly stranger, but I prevailed.

Just as we were re-starting, I fumbled Trip's Flexi and dropped it, causing him to believe that this big plastic thing was now chasing him. With a girl in each hand (so to speak), I called his name repeatedly, but the Flexi was unrelenting in its chase. He then remembered the stranger and perhaps thinking this new friend would save him, off he went.

I saw Trip's decision flip like a switch and yelled for the guy to stop but his headphones blocked my urgent and repeated request. Trip was heading across the street during the start of rush hour.

I dropped the girls' Flexis, emphatically told them to "WAIT" and I ran into the crosswalk after Trip. I caught up with both puppy and man on the other side where the guy grabbed the fluffy boy. Cars were stopped and people watched as I walked my oblivious baby back across.

Both of my girls were exactly where I left them. Frozen in perfect standing "waits," and they stayed that way until I got to them and released them. Damn! Good girls!


Don't try this at home

I do NOT recommend proofing in this way! Clearly. And I'm not sure I would have planned to bet the life of my girls on them knowing this command in a clutch situation. Yet, I did end up betting their lives on it, didn't I?

Yes, Lady Luck, the Universe, and all my angels were obviously looking out for us. No question. However, there are some things that all my dogs must learn in my household and "wait" is near the top. Before they ever hear it in the performance ring, they hear it in the house, in the car, and on walks. I teach it at the end of the leash and it basically means "freeze" until I release you. It's for their safety as much as my sanity.

Stuff happens and we can't prepare for everything. What are some of your "must learn" commands in your household? Please share in the comments or on Facebook - we all may learn another thing to teach our dogs!!

*Save your judgment of my use of Flexi-leads. I like them for certain situations (which does not include the vet's office or other crowded spaces), and you're not changing my mind. ;)

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  • Alice Clark on

    That is a heart stopper for sure Julie! I use both Wait and Stop with my guys. The way I use Wait should confuse my dogs as I use it in Obedience when I leave them for the recall. But I also use it informationally when we’re walking. In both cases it means stay where you are and pay attention for the next ommand. it hasn’t backfired yet! Stop means Freeze! I was actually a little shocked when it worked with Vera yesterday as she took off between some bushes to chase a rabbit on our walk yesterday

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