I'm currently babysitting my friend's dog Max for three weeks while he's out of town (you can read all about it in the first entry here). We're in the home stretch now, as his time with me is coming to an end.
So how's Life With Max working out? So far so good! He hasn't had any accidents yet or torn up anything valuable (knock wood), and he's been reasonably well behaved, considering his orderly little world's been turned upside down.
When I first brought Max home, he was really wired and energetic, running back and forth through the house as his little dog mind struggled to figure out where the hell he was. I decided to take him for a walk to try and wear him out a bit. It worked— we walked to the end of my street and back, which is about a six block round trip. Once we got back he flopped down and rested, and was much calmer the rest of the night.
After about a week we started venturing farther, walking a little over a mile. I wasn't sure Max could make it that far, and figured I'd end up carrying him back. But he made it and still had energy to spare.
I've been taking Max for his mile walk every night now, and he absolutely loves it. In fact he can't wait to go. As soon as we're done eating dinner, he starts getting all antsy and sticks his nose in my face and whines, letting me know he knows it's walkin' time. When I start putting my shoes on, he really goes crazy, as he no doubt thinks, "Hooray, the new human's putting the things on its feet! That means it's taking me walking!"
He heels fairly well when we're walking. I have to remember he's only two, so he's still learning. He does OK unless he sees a rabbit or a squirrel or a cat or another dog or a person or a deadly paper bag blowing down the sidewalk or a suspicious oil spot in the road or a leaf on the ground. Then you'd better brace your arm socket, because he will take you for a low altitude flight.
An active dog like Max really needs regular exercise. I have a feeling my friend probably doesn't walk him a mile every night like I do. He's going to kill me when he takes Max back home, and he starts jumping and whining every night at precisely 7pm, expecting to be taken for a walk. Insert evil laugh here.