Walk!

I went for an actual walk with Barnum today, using my old Jet powerchair. We didn’t go that far — we were only gone for half an hour — but the chair performed well, if a bit slow. It didn’t have any trouble with the hills, and it was so nice to not have to worry about tipping over onto my face at sudden stops! The power seemed fine; still full battery charge when we got home. With the seat belt and the extended leg rests, it was a comfortable ride for me, and I wasn’t all wiped out and in pain when we got home, which was lovely.

Barnum has really learned to keep a loose leash as long as circumstances on boring. He only ever had an tension in the leash about four times till the end, and two of those times, as soon as he felt the tension, he slowed down on his own. He forgot himself, though, at the end of the walk, when a strange dog appeared. He wanted to go meet it, but I was out of good treats and new I’d have nothing to motivate him to behave.

My helper who walks him told me a week or two ago that Barnum had become frightened of walking past a house near our mailbox, because there are three dogs there who bark and growl at him. I’m fairly certain none of them would bite him, but I guess, with it three-against-one, he doesn’t want to find out. So, he’s been getting his walks in the other direction. A few days ago, she told me now he’s afraid of that street, too.

He definitely did not seem the happy, excited, confident guy he used to be on walks. He wasn’t freaked out, but he seemed worried about something. I don’t know what. I used lots of click/treat to keep his mind occupied and jolly him up, and that seemed to help. He started perking up eventually, so I turned him around to go home, so we could end on a positive note.

I am going to try to take him for walks, myself, from now on, as often as I can. I think I will mostly click for “looking happy” — confident, eager body language. Hopefully that will turn the tide. I have a couple of guesses as to what might be spooking him, but I won’t know for sure for a while (or I may never know), so I’ll just get on with the business of getting him over whatever it is.

Felt good to be out on the road! We tried out his new Ruff Wear Swamp Cooler, but it didn’t help at all. It was 78 percent humidity when we left, and evaporative technology doesn’t really work when nothing is evaporating! However, he does look very handsome in it!

– Sharon, the muse of Gadget, and Barnum, concerned SDiT

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3 Responses to “Walk!”


  1. 1 Karyn August 8, 2011 at 9:42 am

    It sounds like you guys got the Jet rolling again- that is awesome! I want to take a look at the P200 wiring the same way you did the Jet smile
    I really hope the *concern* Barnum has can pass. I went through this a bit with Thane until I realized that it was me being concerned causing him to have issues. I doubt its that with you, but certainly could have been the initial trigger with others walking him who don’t get *soft* dogs.
    The swamp cooler really does no good for Thane outdoors. It evaporates too fast in our normally more dry heat. Indoors is where Thane benefits from it- after we come home from working. The neckline is too snug though and Thane hates that. I keep meaning to call them and ask if altering it would cause any problems with the way its designed so I can make the neckline open for dressing him in it. I’m sure he is a bigger dog than they anticipated for this size hence a bigger head.

  2. 2 Sharon Wachsler August 8, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Yes, I’m not sure what the causes are of his concern. Could be the dogs on the other street as well (they also charge around and bark but they are not actually dangerous), or getting bitten up by bugs too often, or who knows what. If I can just be well enough, and my chair keeps working, to walk him several times a week, I think I should be able to get the bounce back into his step.

    As for the swamp cooler, I read in the reviews people saying that if you have a dog with a big head or thick neck, like bulldogs or pit bulls, etc., to go up a size because of the neck hole being too small, so you are not the only one. But the large fits Barnum perfectly. I think it will work better on really hot sunny days. Yesterday was hot and cloudy, not scorching hot, but incredibly muggy.

  3. 3 Laura August 9, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    It must be wonderful to have a little outside freedom again. Thank goodness for Dad and ingenuity.
    Maybe Barnum is cuing off the dogs barking or maybe he’s just missed walking with you. I’m sure he will have a bounce in his paw in no time 🙂


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