How to Get Walked
Listen to this piece in episode 11 of the podcast.
Hear the car rounding the corner. Run to the window. Hop on your hind legs in the window. Make sure they see you. When they open the door, prance around like you’re doing the Cupid Shuffle then rush them. Lick them with your saliva-packed tongue. Relish their tussling of your fur. Act like you never want it to end.
When they stand erect and move to pass you, block their path. Yelp then whine. Sit, no, no, lie down in front of them. Scratch at the door that they have just closed. Whine some more. Scratch the door again. Place your head on your paws and look up at them. Humans call that puppy dog eyes. Close your lids a little when they pat your head again.
When they stop stroking you behind the ears (because we know they will), turn on your back. Wiggle a little. Make them scratch your belly. This prolonged rubbing session builds connection—you’re on their mind now.
Stretch dramatically and hop up once it’s done. Trot in front of them and shake your body a little. It’s cute if you’re long-furred, but you baldies can do it, too. Trot straight to your leash and whimper. Hop in the air. Look distressed. Make your eyes really wide with yearning. If they walk to another part of the house, run to them. Bark wildly like Old Yeller. Snatch up the leash with your jaw and drag it to them. Proffer it in front of them. Paws forward. Booty up. Downward dog them, that’s right. Make them see that leash.
If they toss you a treat to placate you, remember, that’s a trick! Yes, gobble the treat. Savor its tastiness. But don’t forget the goal! Snack time over, get back focused. Paw the front of their legs. Roll over frantically. Let them know you’ve been wronged. If all else fails, run to the window and howl at the moon or the sun or the trees, whatever’s out. Howl loud enough to rouse that matronly Labrador next door. She’s a trusty ally who’ll join your cry. The Rottweiler on the next block will join in, too. That pup’s always bored.
Now that it sounds like a firetruck parade, your human is finally defeated. Prance as they grab the leash. Look grateful. Lick their face when they stoop to clamp it on your collar.
While you’re trotting down the sidewalk, look back at them once or twice. Look really happy to be out. Don’t chase errant squirrels in the park. Don’t sniff that fire hydrant on Poplar Street. Don’t growl at the Pomeranian with those too tight sweaters even though all the neighborhood pups hate that Pomeranian with the too tight sweaters.
Pee only when needed. Be cool. You’re out for a walk. Sniff a few tails, but don’t get carried away. Poop in a grassy area, then kick up dust on your poop like you’re trying to bury it. You’re not, of course. But humans find this endearing. Be endearing.
Because that’s how you get them to walk you again—on your terms— tomorrow. And the day after that. And the day after that.