Friday, December 23, 2011
Zoe was afraid of bridges. Cement bridges, wood bridges, sturdy or rickety, puppy would not cross a bridge. (Not certain how she felt about Jeff Bridges).
When we would approach a bridge on a walk, dog would put the brakes on and refuse to budge. She may have only weighed 35 pounds, but it was 35 pounds of pure muscle. Strong enough to pull children on a sled in the snow.
What to do? Where I lived there were bridges everywhere. Not walking on a bridge meant not walking very far and puppy could walk for three miles without tiring.
I brought up Zoe's fear to a dog trainer that worked with Leader Dogs. He told me Zoe had to cross the bridge. How is this possible if she put the brakes on whenever she was near a bridge? He told me I would have to carry the dog to the middle of the bridge and put her down. Puppy would have no choice but to walk to get off the bridge.
I tried the trainer's suggestion the next day. Zoe fought me every step I took as I carried her to the center of the bridge. As soon as her paws hit the wooden bridge, she pulled me and her leash to the other side. That was the last time she fought crossing a bridge. Dog had conquered her fear.
Now I have a new pup in my life and new fears to conquer.
Life is filled with scary things and it's how we deal with them that makes us stronger and helps us grow as individuals. We all have bridges to conquer. Thank you Zoe for teaching me this and so many other valuable lessons. You will always have a special place in my heart.