Since we brought Walker home in September he has not been out of the house - except to the fenced backyard. I previously described Walker's special challenge - idiopathic fear. When frightened, he bolts hard and fast.
We've seen a huge improvement in his spookiness but we remain exceptionally careful with him. A greyhound on the loose is a nightmare. A spooky greyhound on the loose is a certain tragedy.
I finally convinced myself that it was time. Tim would not let Walker get away from him and my fear for Walker was less important than his need to learn and grow. His growth here has been a direct result of desensitization - rewarding him for repeatedly overcoming his anxiety. It's worked so far.
It took about 15 minutes to get Walker suited up - that includes the time it took to get my hands on him. Once that was done, he had to have his harness with a leash and his martingale with a leash.
|Tim and Walker|
|Taking a good, long look around.|
|All THREE of Those Brindle Kids out for a walk!|
|Doing good so far -|
|Some positive reinforcement.|
|Walker, with Tim, in front. Note Walker's tucked tail.|
|It's hot out here.|
|New smells for Walker.|
|I call this the spider web leash shot.|
Today, he was still stressed but he did not pull on the leash or bolt. He followed Truly's and Maggie's steady lead. His gait was slow and smooth. He regularly looked to Tim for reassurance.
In the clip below, you can hear construction noise in the background. We thought the noise might scare Walker. He was curious and probably wished it would stop but he didn't appear to be frightened by it.
Sorry for the shakiness of these last two clips. I was walking. Seeing Walker look to Tim was so sweet.
In the clip below, Walker is no longer tucking his tail. The leash is loose and no pulling.
The SEGA folks told us how rewarding it can be to adopt a special needs hound. We've been rewarded over and over by seeing Walker progress by leaps and bounds since September. Today, though, was an enormous victory for him.
Who needs a Super Bowl? Walker went for a walk on leash today!