On a Tight Leash – Conversations with Doodlebug and Sweetie

I am Doodlebug, King of the Olde English Bulldogges.

Sweetie: Lady Human! How come you’re rushing around?

Me: Tight schedule today. Lots of things to do. You might say that I’m on a tight leash.

Doodlebug: I don’t see a leash. Hmmm. Are you sure there is one? Are you confused, ma’am?

Sweetie: I’ve always thought it was unfair that humans go around in the world without leashes.

Me: Oh, we have leashes. You just can’t see them.

Doodlebug: Invisible? Hmmm.

Sweetie: Doodle, I think we’d better keep a close eye on the human.

Copyright 2023 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

The Arrest of Doodlebug – Conversations with Stella and Doodlebug

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. I hereby order the arrest of Doodlebug. Offense: Rampaging without a license. Disorderly conduct (even for a bulldog). General disobedience.

Me:        I am trying to catch him now. Can you help?

Stella:    I am not that fast, Lady Human. Sorry. He does not obey anyone. That is why you have my permission, my edict in fact, to arrest him. Take him into custody. Now. Please.

Me:        Doodle, come here!

Doodlebug:        Haha! Catch me if you can. What’s that over there?

Me:        Something that is not yours. Come here, boy!

Doodlebug:        Haha! Nope. What’s that over there?

Me:        My phone! No!

Doodlebug:        Okay. Wait. What’s this over here?

Snoopey:   Hey! My blanket! Leave it alone!

Doodlebug:   Oh, okay! Hey, what’s that?

Stella:    You know. It’s the Cat. Go, Doodlebug, go!

Me:   Stop!

Stella:    Awwww.

Me:        Doodle, stop! There! I got you. Leash arrest.

Doodlebug:   Awwww.


Me:   Let’s go outside and run around. Get all the excess energy out.

Doodlebug:   Are you going outside, too?

Me:        Sure. I’ll go outside with you.

Doodlebug:   Will you run around?

Me:        No, not so much. Excess energy is not my particular issue.

Doodlebug:   When we come back in, will I still be under arrest?

Me:        Will you behave?

Doodlebug:        No.

Me:   Oh, all right, no. You won’t be under arrest. Never mind.

Stella:   She gives up too easily, Doodlebug. I am the Queen. Do what I say.

Doodlebug:   Mmmm. Nope.





Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.





Bulldog Freight – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges, and Lady Human is having a bulldog problem, as usual. What is it this time, Lady Human?

Me:        Do you see what Doodlebug is doing?

Stella:    Yes. And?

Me:        Do you see him at the end of the leash?

Stella:    Yes. Where else would he be? The middle of the leash?

Me:        Do you see my feet sliding across the floor as he pulls me along?

Stella:    Yes. You are going to have to run along with him if you are going to get anywhere fast. Right now, he is dragging you at about an inch a minute, which isn’t bad if you are only going an inch or so. Boy howdy, you must not weigh as much as you think you do. He’s in control of that leash.

Me:        Well, he weighs about 80 pounds and I weigh…considerably more than that.

Stella:    And he has 4 feet to work with and you only have two. And his shoulders are muscular and yours are not.

Me:        I’m still on my feet.

Stella:    Is that doing you much good?

Me:        I haven’t given up.

Stella:    You might as well. Bulldog, Lady Human. Bulldog. We are the dog version of a big rig truck.

Me:        How do you know about trucks?

Stella:    I keep my eyes open when we are in your rolling box. I see those big rigs. Sometimes, if everything is just right, I look up and see a driver look down at me and smile. I try to smile back, but to be honest, I probably just end up looking bulldoggy.

Bulldogs are like those trucks. We were built to haul big loads like you.



(Lady Human, is that the best picture you have of Doodlebug?

Yes, it is the only time I’ve caught him standing still.)


Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Walking With Humans -Conversations with Stella

Hello! I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Walking with humans is difficult. They are clumsy and have trouble keeping up with us.

Transcriptionist: Hey! We are not clumsy.

 Stella:  Says the human who tripped over a little branch on the ground and let her nose hit the dirt.

Transcriptionist:  Thanks for the sympathy, Stella.

Stella:  You are welcome. Now for my walking rules:

Rule Number 1: Do not go for walks. Bulldogs hate them. We sometimes pretend to tolerate them to make the humans feel better. Bulldogs like to sit. Bulldogs like to nap. Stay sedentary, my friends.

Rule Number 2: Fight any effort by the humans to put a lead or a harness on you. Doodlebug has a neat move to get out of a lead. Just turn around quickly before the lead is tightened and duck your head. Voila´! (I heard one of the humans say that. I have no idea what it means, but he seemed excited.) Anyway, it works for Doodlebug. You can also wrestle with the harness, refuse to move your feet, or step in and out of the harness. Humans tend to give up easily. Bulldog tenacity wins.

Rule Number 3: If somehow the humans get a lead or harness on you, pull as hard as you can. They will expect this. Maybe. After all, we are bulldogs. Pull as though you are headed for a chicken and bacon festival. Pulling will tire the humans out and they will happily turn toward home.

Rule Number 4: When out on a walk, stop and sniff EVERYTHING. Humans expect this as normal dog behavior. It is part of the enjoyment of the ‘Great Outdoors’ as the humans call our wonderful bathroom. They say ‘stop and smell the roses’. Don’t waste your time. Ignore the roses. Stop and smell the evidence that other animals have left behind. It tells quite a story. And don’t forget to leave a calling card of your own so that everyone knows you have passed that way. It is our own form of history.

Rule Number 5: When you are tired, flop flat on your stomach. The human will not know how to handle this. It is a clear sign that you are done for the day.

Start with these guidelines, my dear bulldogs. Walk as seldom as possible. Fight every step of the way. Soon the humans will get the message and stop trying. Then let the relaxation begin.



Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Please Walk With Me, Not Against Me – Conversations with Stella

I am here once again with Stella, QUEEN of the Olde English Bulldogges…

Stella:   Thank you for remembering to mention my proper title.

Me:        How could I forget? Training bulldogs to walk on a lead or leash has been a greater challenge than I had expected.

Stella:   Wait! When you bring out the leash, I get all excited and it has been training? As in…yuck…obedience training?

Me:        Uh, yeah. Not that obedience has had much to do with it. I do enjoy taking you places and walking with you, but, thus far, I consider my leash training efforts to have been a failure.

Stella:   Let’s see. How would you put it? YEAH, DUH, WE’RE BULLDOGS!

Me:        If I could do it safely, I would let all of you out with no leashes. But someplaces, like those state parks where we camped, won’t allow that at all, and some places, like public sidewalks, aren’t safe for you.

Cars rush by. Strange dogs are running around.

Stella:   Strange dogs? What is strange about them? Just how strange are they? Do they have eight legs? Do they fly?

Me:        (sigh) Strange as in unfamiliar to you.  Regular dogs you have not met and that haven’t met you.

Stella:   Well, all right. If you say so. You would tell me if there were such unusual dogs, wouldn’t you?

Me:        If I learn of dogs that fly or dogs that run on eight legs…

Stella:   Spider Dogs.

Me:        Spider Dogs. Yes, I will warn you in advance. In fact, I might just stay home all the time with you.

Stella:   You could still brave it to go buy more treats when we run low.

Me:        Thanks, Stella, I would risk encountering monster dogs to go pick up your treats.

Stella:   I know. And that is one of the reasons why I love you, Lady Human.

Me:        Back to leash training. When you bulldogs “walk” on a leash, you don’t walk with me. You pull me or you veer off in a perpendicular direction, left or right.

Stella:   I don’t know where this “perpendicular” is, but you are right. We pretty much go whichever way we want. As for pulling, doesn’t that help you speed up your walking?

Me:        I have to speed up to walk with you. Any of you. But that’s not my goal as much as keeping myself upright and not kissing the pavement.

Stella:   Pavement kissing is not your favorite thing?

Me:        I don’t do it voluntarily.

Stella:   I do pavement sniffing all the time and I rather like it.

Me:        Two totally different activities by two totally different creatures. Can we please work on walking in the same direction with you walking beside me and not pulling me from the front or from the side?

Stella:   We can work on it. Not making any promises. I can’t deny my nature.

Me:        But you can curb it.

Stella:   Curbs. Yes. I totally understand curbs.

“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”  (Amos 3:3 KJV)


Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.





Don’t Fight the Lead!

I have noticed that I tend to use a lot of exclamation points in these blog posts. Many advise against them. Those many are not writing about bulldogs.

All the dogs I have ever owned or dealt with have walked on leads or leashes without much trouble. There was the introduction phase, the training phase, and things proceeded pretty easily from there. Of course, the one Great Pyrenees we had years ago (weighing in at 100 pounds in the winter) knew when she was going to the vet, and no leash could persuade her to move once we got to the parking lot. From that point on I did a lot of picking up the front paws, then picking up the back paws, then picking up the front paws, etc. It went that way until we inched our way forward. And I do mean ‘inched’.

None of our Olde English Bulldogges came to us leash-trained. What does that mean during transportation or walking? They walk when they want to and stop when they want to and there is a lot of cajoling, commanding (hence the exclamation points), and less cooperation than I would like.

And then there’s the pulling, and I mean pulling as in we could win a tug of war against a group of Marines. When one of our dogs makes up her bulldoggy mind to head in a certain direction, she heads in that certain direction which is not, of course, my certain direction. We wage a war of wills, or more to the point, a war of muscles, and that is where I often come up short.

I give a lot of lip service to following the will of God for my life, but when it comes to following His lead, I strain in my own direction, hoping that He will change His mind and go with me or that I heard Him wrong. He loves me enough not to give up on me. He knows my stubbornness. Sometimes He lets me pull in my own way down the wrong path until I stop and turn around with a confused look on my face. Then we start over.

When the bulldogs fight the lead, I hold on with a mighty hand. For a time, the battle is on. But I love them too much to let them run across a busy street, stray off on their own to get lost, or aggressively charge another dog. And that’s how the Lord loves me (though truthfully I have never been known to charge at dogs).

“Teach me to do Thy will; for Thou are my God: Thy Spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.” Psalm 143:10 KJV


Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.


Don’t Miss Out

Stella needed (correction: still needs) leash training, if such a thing is possible with a bulldog. We make progress and we fall back, we make progress and…we erase the whole mess and start over again. The alternative to training would be for me to become the cart behind Stella’s horse and get dragged everywhere. That joke wore thin a long time ago. Of course, Stella still loves it.

Walking Stella became a chore rather than a pleasure and I started cutting back on the effort. We were both missing out because we both wanted to be in charge of the leash. So I became intentional about my goal. I started slow and steady. What I forgot was that Stella was intentional, too, only not in my direction.

I managed to keep her powerful 50 lbs. from jerking me off the porch steps. Yay! We walked (or rather she pulled and I held on for dear life) slowly down the sidewalk to the street. I kept her within about a foot of me. Yay! She seemed to be catching on to the idea that she was to walk beside me.

Yay! The leash slackened. We turned around and walked like a normal, sane human being…and a bulldog back up the sidewalk, up the four porch steps to the front door.

“That was great, Stella! Now let’s do it again.”

Stella faced the door, laid her barrel body down,  placed her head flat on top of her front paws and said, “Nope.”

“Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.”
Psalm 32:9 KJV

Copyright H.J. Hill 2016 All Rights Reserved