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.

 

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(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.

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.