We’ve been experiencing a terrible heat wave – which seems to finally have lifted today.
Poor Fred hasn’t been able to get out very much.
On Saturday evening, I decided I’d take him to the beach for a sunset walk.
Fred and I take sunset walks at the beach fairly often, but on the previous few nights it had been way too hot – even in the evenings.
I decided to take Fred to a beach he hadn’t been to before.
Salt Creek Beach has some nice walkways and a huge grass area up above the sand.
Sunset from Salt Creek Beach
A lot of people picnic there.
A lot of people bring their dogs.
It sounds perfect, right?
And Fred has been so perfectly behaved lately …!
I’ve been so proud of him.
Well, I don’t know if it was the fact he has been cooped up for several days from the heat?
Or, the excitement of being in a “new” place?
Or, all the dogs running off leash all over the grass area?
Or, the fact Fred is nearly ten months old …. and, supposedly, Newfies are notoriously “terrible teens” from nine to eighteen months of age?
But, the minute Fred was out of the car I knew he was going to be a challenge.
His nose quivered in excitement with the cool breeze.
(Finally! A break from the heat!)
His eyes darted everywhere taking in all the stimulation of running dogs and laughing children.
Apparently, it was all TOO MUCH for puppy Fred.
He became tone deaf to every command, rule, and bit of instruction he knows.
From the minute we were out of the car, he wouldn’t heel.
I stopped everything and went back to Training 101 lessons with him on the spot.
One of my friends said, “He’s just excited because there are so many dogs running around.”
I’m sure that’s true, but Fred has been trained to behave in high stimulation environments.
My one concern, from the time I began searching for a Newfie, has been the “what if he pulls on the leash” issue.
An adult Newfoundland is WAY bigger and stronger than I am … and I only have my non-dominant arm to hold him.
I knew, from day one, Fred had to be trained never to pull on the leash.
And, he IS well trained.
As I stood with Fred a while later,
And he sat, obediently, next to me,
I “forgot” and had my right hand “halfway” holding his leash.
Suddenly, a little black dog ran straight towards Fred,
And Fred bolted towards it – yanking my arm unmercifully.
When a 130 pound puppy bolts … it isn’t just your arm that gets yanked.
My neck, my back, my entire body went bolting along with him!
(Fred wanted to PLAY with the dog who also wanted to play with him. Neither dog was being aggressive.)
I managed to gain control of Fred, using my left hand and arm.
But, the damage was done … the nerves in my right arm began shooting off incessant pain signals.
(Noooooooo! I was just, finally, coming down from a long flare-up!)
I’d like to say the rest of my evening with Fred went smoothly, but it didn’t.
He didn’t begin listening until he was completely worn out at the end of the evening.
I spent two hours in a battle of wills with a very stubborn Newfie who pretended to be deaf to every command.
I felt frustrated … and, of course, I was in terrible pain by the time I got home.
On Sunday, Fred seemed to be back to his normal self.
I, however, will need several days to get my pain level under control.