Banner has been delighted to take us for walks recently.  Well, she always is, but the weather is a little cooler recently, so her spirits are up a little more.

The newest thing is that I’ve been asking her where she would like to go when we reach an intersection, and she has been learning to lead.  Giving her that role when she was younger was not a good option – she didn’t need any reinforcement about that idea.  But as she has begun to mature and become more interactive, it is fun to let her explore.  So, along with this, she must be more aware about crossing streets, looking both ways – first.  Her normal mode is Go!  But the past couple of days she has been a little more responsible, looking before stepping into the path of traffic, rather than the obligatory looking 2/3 the way across.  It is the same principle that moms are beginning to learn, about how children are motivated by the sharing of responsibility.

On Sunday, as we walked around the park, there was a family, with Dad standing back holding the camera and Mom assisting the eldest young daughter who was sitting on a blanket cross-legged under a string of glittery triangular banners having her photo taken while two siblings watched from nearby.  The girl was wearing a black cat mask and this seemed to make Banner uncomfortable.  As we walked past, she issued a loud chastening/complaining bark, while focused straight ahead.  The guy with the camera had asked as we passed what kind of dog she was.  I replied, a talkative one!  I didn’t have time to explain that she didn’t hesitate to express her opinions, but Greg gave the proper reply, “a Newfoundland”.

She continued as Banker used to do in the “Nothin’ gonna break my stride” walk, except for the occasional legitimate reason to pause long enough for people to pet a Newf.  I had been suspicious that she was walking in patterns, depending on the day of the week, and consistent with her new interest in people.  She used to like to walk around the park every time.  But she has discovered that there is more opportunity for interaction if we walk toward the square.  On weekdays, we often walk near but not around the square, and on Saturdays, the Farmers Market is open, so we walk around the square.  Surely enough, she took us around the square on Saturday.  But she is beginning to try a more adventurous path occasionally, some that we haven’t walked before.  Although she does like to find the path back by the place where the Crazy Black Cat is (or used to be – “crazy” may be literal in his case).

As we reached our return point, and the walking leash was traded for a harness, she walked right past me as I reached to pet her, with an expression and gesture that would have easily passed for “S’up”.

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