Our Adventures With Retired Racing Greyhounds, Truly, Maggie and Walker

Saturday, February 2, 2013

A Milestone for Walker

Today I asked Tim to go with me to take Truly and Maggie for their afternoon walk.  He said he wanted Walker to go this time.  I tried to talk myself out of taking Walker with us.  It was way too much of a chance.

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.
Still walking.
Good boy.
It's hot out here.

New smells for Walker.

I call this the spider web leash shot.
When we brought Walker home that very first day back in September, we had to get him from the car to the house.  Tim held both of his leashes.  Walker's behavior was erratic.  He yanked the leashes and alternately crouched toward the ground and darted around and around Tim.  His eyes were wild and he was visibly stressed.  (Think Tasmanian Devil on speed.)

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!


  1. Well done Walker and well done you, Tim, Maggie and Truly. Looks like walks are going to be more fun now the whole pack can go.

  2. What an improvement. Guess when he looks around and seeing everyone else is so calm gives him confidence. Bet he'll be walking like a pro in no time.

  3. Walker, you handsome brindle boy! My Tom was like this, almost 10 years ago. He has come so far and it has been very rewarding. Majestic collars has a "spook" harness and special leash to use with it. If I ever have another shy one, I am going to get one of these. Looking forward to see you blossom beautiful boy!

  4. It looks like he did great to me. Congrats to all!

    The harness is a great idea. We use one on Joey because he pulls, but with the harness he is much better. Once he gets his harness on, he is really quiet while he waits for Scout to put her leash on. It's like he thinks the harness is his work outfit or something.

  5. OMG, I am so happy I could cry! He looks great. He wasn't circling around Tim while on a leash which was his old way. He looks wonderful and he looks like he was actually enjoying himself. Excellent work. It just goes to shoow you what lots of love, patience and time will do. Walker could not have done any better in finding/picking his forever home. I am so proud of him and you all that I could bust!

  6. This is heartwarming and his progress is very special!! Thank you for loving him so much and giving him the chance to be the dog we knew was possible. Patty