This past Monday I started taking Ranger out for short walks — end of the block and back jobs — just to begin getting her acclimated to both the neighborhood and life on the leash. She dealt with both pretty well, but I noticed practically right away that she’s very skitish when it comes to unfamiliar noise or movement.

Yesterday I opted to broaden her horizons with a full walk around the block. She was mostly comfortable with the walk down to the end of the block, but once we headed east up Marathon any confidence she’d built up over the first two days immediately poofed. She was still dealing with the leash well enough, but there was just too much stuff going on for her to be anywhere near at ease.

Still we kept on going with me being very vocally positive and stopping to pet her often. But was we were coming down the hill of LaFayette Park Place where it empties into Benton Way at Sunset, something got her good and she jerked at a time when I didn’t have a good grip on the handle and she was at near full extension of the retractable lead behind me. So the big plastic casing that the cord rolls up into fell out of my hand and clattered up the sidewalk toward her reeling itself in and of course this freaked Ranger out even doubly so and off she went back up the hill with this noisy red plastic beastie gaining on her.

I set off in pursuit yelling her name and trying to tell her everything’s OK, already well aware and thankful that this didn’t happen around the bend on busy Sunset Boulevard where Ranger in her panic could have bolted out into the mass of traffic. I was gaining on her, but each time she’d look back and see both me and the beastie on her heels, she’d put it into overdrive and charge farther ahead.

Chugging up the hill I caught a break. Having yanked a left into the empty street, she yanked a right back up onto the sidewalk, hanging up the leash handle on a curbside plant in the process. Unfortunately she ran out the 15 feet of cord in time to yank the handle out from just under my foot as it was coming down upon it and we were both off again. After about 100 more feet with the leash nipping at her back feet, I finally stopped hoping that when she looked behind her again she’d see I’d called off the chase and stop. She did. I sat down on the curb sucking some serious wind and she waddled back up to me dragging the leash behind her.

End of adventure. And we opted not to continue down to Sunset but instead just went back home the way we’d come.

We left Sunset for today and it went off incident free. Bonus: she even went poop. She’s still a bit jumpy and whimpery but I kept a firm grip upon the handle at all times and she handled the busy street very well and now she’s crashed out under my feet.

Here’s a couple pix from today:

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