But, despite his initial enthusiasm and his inherent cuteness, he's not really the ideal walking partner. Here's 5 reasons why:
1. He's stubborn and willful. Which means he wants to go where he wants to go. And that's where the smells are. So, if a particular patch of asphalt or an individual blade of grass smells like heaven to him, he'd rather stop and sniff that for half an hour than keep walking. This also means that he tries to pull me all over the place in pursuit of such delicious smells. So, he is definitely not that well-trained dog you see that calmly trots along next to its master while walking.
2. He's neurotic. And kinda skittish and unpredictable. So, one minute he wants to chase down a garbage truck that is barreling past, and the next, a leaf blowing across the sidewalk nearly makes him jump out of his fur.
3. He makes frequent stops. In a route we typically take that is about 1.5 miles, he will stop to pee a dozen times. The first 2 or 3 times, actual pee comes out. The next 10 times, he's just fruitlessly lifting his leg. Thus, it feels like we're pausing at every tree, fire hydrant, and sign post on the route.
4. He has a penchant for walking in the street. I don't know why the grass isn't good enough for him, but he always pulls and wants to walk in the street, and his leash is just long enough for him to continually skirt the edge. Now, the streets we walk aren't heavily trafficked, but there's enough cars that I feel as though I am constantly yanking him back onto the swale and telling him to "get outta the street!"
5. When he's done, he's done. Most dogs I know love to walk and will walk for as long as their master will take them. But for Scooter, once he gets a certain distance, he wants to go back home, and he will continually try to turn around. Some walks are better than others and he is happy to walk as far as we go, but other days, we get about 3 blocks in, and he's ready to turn and head back home. On those walks, I feel as though I am dragging him along behind me. And the irony is that once we get to the turn-around spot, his attitude seems to change to "this isn't so bad, let's continue on!" Essentially, there are some days where I think he just wants to walk in the opposite direction as me -- probably just to piss me off.
But, for as annoying as he can be, I am glad to have him with me (most of the time -- yesterday, Jerry took him to the dog park, so I went for a long walk without him, and it was quite glorious). Plus, he's usually so tuckered out from the walk, that once we return home, he's out for a good few hours, and my mantra has always been: "A tired dog is a well-behaved dog."
My mom tells me that that was the basis of her entire child-rearing philosophy as well. Hmmmm, that explains all those days at the park, and the long summer days of swim lessons, tennis camp, and soccer practice...