Every night (or just about every night), Luci and I go for a walk around our neighborhood. This is an important event because it helps her get rid of some excess energy and wears her out so that she will sleep through the night. If I don’t go for out walk, I can guarantee that I’ll be up at least once in the middle of the night because she’s bored and she thinks that Mommy should get up and go outside and play fetch with her. It’s also important that she be exposed to all kinds of different and interesting things and people so that she doesn’t develop any anxiety issues. I learned the hard way with Blacky that the more things a dog is exposed to at an early age, the less likely the dog is to develop fears and phobias as they get older. One dog with an anxiety disorder is enough. I can’t imagine having to deal with two Nervous Nelly’s.
Anyway, Luci loves her walks. We go at the same time every night and she knows when it’s "walk time." If I’m not ready when she thinks it’s time to go, she’ll start whining and prancing in front of me. The minute I say "okay, let’s go" she’s at the door waiting for me. We practice her obedience commands (heel, sit, stay, come when called), she gets to sniff everything she sees. She meets new friends and she knows when to be her absolute cutest puppy self so that the little kids can’t resist petting her. Some of the adults can’t resist petting her either. What’s funny is that she’ll be a good little puppy sitting quietly until the person gets about a foot in front of her and then she’s a complete wiggling puppy mess. Dancing, wiggling, licking puppy. She knows which houses have people that talk to her each night and she gives me a very concerned look when we pass the house and the people aren’t outside. She’ll look at me like, "Hey, where’s my adoring public?" and then we start walking again. If the people are outside, she’ll pause for a minute and wag her tail and then go on about her business. It’s all about being seen.
She also loves to play "adventure dog" – she sticks her nose to the ground and will sniff as she walks along. Now "adventure dog" also involves Luci’s other great love – picking up whatever she can find on the ground. She’s found rocks, crab apples, walnut shells, and sticks on our walks and will pick them up and take them along with her for a bit. When she finds something a little more interesting, she’ll drop what she has and picks up the new find. If it’s not something that will hurt her, I usually let her carry her find for a while. I can’t wait for this fall when there are leaves on the ground. She’s not going to know what to do with herself. Last night she found her biggest treasure to date. An empty bottle of Jagermeister – some kind of hard liquor. She found it, sniffed it, and then picked it up to bring it home. Since it was glass (and a little bigger than her normal finds), I didn’t think it was a good idea for her to keep it. When I bent down to see what she had, I laughed so hard I almost cried. My 11 month old puppy is dragging home empty liquor bottles! Oh, my, what will she get into next!