Is Your Dog Friendly?

As I was walking Arthur again this morning, I was met with a large saluki cross bouncing around onlead as we walked down a very tight cycle path. I u turned pretty quickly as the owner shouted “Oh is he friendly?” I carried on walking away until we had more space. As she asked again more insistantly “Is he friendly? This one is”

I fumbled over my own words before deciding on

“Oh he is a mardy bum onlead”

Before Arthur exploded in lunging right on cue!

Then came the judgemental expression from the owner of the friendly dog with “Oh.. I can see”.


Sigh. Arthur is friendly. Arthur can struggle with face to face greetings onlead, but he is a sociable dog and loves to play. Arthur does NOT like dogs who are bouncing around onlead like maniacs, however. It makes him anxious as he’s been bitten on the nose more than a few times by “friendly” dogs.

As is typical of people who are desperate for their dogs to have onlead meetings, this dog was bouncing and staring Arthur in the eyes as the owner was clinging to the lead. This feels like an everyday occurrence these days.

Someone who has an over-friendly, undertrained dog asking me if Arthur is friendly. Usually, because I am trying to continue teaching him he doesn’t need to meet every dog we see, so have him to one side or am actively feeding him for good behaviour.

The reality is the question isn’t “Is your dog friendly?”
The question is “ Will your dog tolerate my dog pulling over to yours and jumping all over him and being very pushy?”

No one would ever even question anyone for punching another human who came running over to them screeching wanting a hug when they never met them.

Yet somehow we expect that dogs should all enjoy being pounced on by others! It’s “socialisation”.

I don’t expect any of my dogs to tolerate being leapt on and lunged at by dogs. I want my dogs to know they can feel safe onlead. And onlead with me.

Don’t get me wrong, Arthur used to leap around like a loon on sight of every dog we met, the solution wasn’t meeting more dogs. It was teaching him to engage with me.

If your making a big effort with your eager beaver enthusiastic greeter of a dog, keep it up and carry on! You will get there! Just consider if you think the other dog will equally enjoy the encounter with your dog when asking if they’re friendly.

I will continue to respond “No he isn’t friendly” and being judged because it is a bit more polite than explaining the fact their dog needs to learn to play it cool!

Social Media Socialisation

Social media is an awesome and powerful tool. I use it alot for Wagging Wonders as well as being one of those people with accounts for my dogs!

Instagram is a brilliant platform for seeing some cute dogs and snazzy little “stories”.

I love seeing the variety of dogs on there. Cute poses, funny videos, trick training. I always search the hashtags and nose at #whippetlife!

I get a bit worried though. While these photos are a lovely moment in time, I know many people who take these canine profiles at face value!

They see these dogs living a perfect life, with all the best highlights. There can often be a degree of sadness, why isn’t MY dog like that dog? Why is that dog able to do things mine can’t?

It’s important to remember that these moments are but an edited highlight. A memory to cherish or look back on fondly. However, this doesn’t mean that dog and owner aren’t having tough times!

Their dog or puppy chews up the skirting board the same as yours, probably pulls onlead too!

I would bet good money their dog jumps up at strangers too 😉

Just because the dogs you follow don’t post those moments when it all goes wrong, doesn’t mean it doesn’t go wrong.

It simply means they’ve chosen that photo to pause on a moment in time.

When you look back on life, it’s the good stuff you want to see!

So when you see a dog on there and think “I wish Fido could be like Brian, he looks so well behaved” Just think, do you share your worst moments on social media?

Your dog is awesome anyway.

And so are the dogs you are following.

But no one is exempt from the realities of dog ownership.

So stop comparing your dogs to your favourite social media hounds.

It won’t do you or your dog any favours!

Instead, make your own memories and value your dog for who they are!

Training the dog in front of you

Training the dog in front of you. It’s one of those things I feel is really important.

No dog is the same. They all have different likes and dislikes, they all have different quirks to their character. They can be the same breed as other dogs you have had in the past, they can be the same age as things you have taught previous dogs. But they cannot be the same dog.

Arthur has been with us for almost 2 years now. I knew I should expect many challenges adding another dog to the household. Marley and Womble are both reactive and highly strung, but both were at a point where they were much improved. I knew my biggest battle would be preventing reactivity in this loudmouth little puppy. Arthur has developed a few quirks as he has matured, however I am starting to realise something very important. Arthur is not Marley. Arthur is his own dog, I need to relax!!

The last 6 months Arthur’s tolerance for young males has decreased drastically, he has got a little more vocal and bouncy on lead. I have pretty much been avoiding dogs for the last 6 months, not deliberately. Just as a standard I guess. Once issues appear, you need to manage them. I am so used to Marley’s much more severe issues, it seemed the sensible step. But I found the more I have avoided…the more tense I have become. The more I have avoided, the more stressed I have been.

I should add I don’t mean walking him at midnight but instead seeing dogs and crossing roads. Avoiding areas where dogs go off lead. It was easier, less stressful. It became the new normal. However, I stumbled back into a routine of walking where many dogs go again recently. Every time someone asks “Is he friendly?” I feel myself hesitate and pause for so long ” Erm..yeah…I guess..He can be a bit much though?” I should answer YES he is friendly! There is nothing wrong with Arthur. Yep, he will tell inappropriate young males off..but that is fair. He probably pushes it a little now and then, but the other dogs push him as a starting point. He doesn’t really deserve to be postured at and jumped all over. It probably hurts him with his incredibly light frame!

On meeting more and more dogs again,I realised that actually, Arthur hasn’t had an issue…I have. I have been so worried that actually, Arthur was the problem. When I know if I was working with him as a customers dog, I would explain that although Arthur needs to learn manners in some situations, most of the time he’s being on the ball when telling another dog to back off- and he has every right to. I let Marley’s issue’s take over (Well, he doesn’t like to be left out!)

Do I have much to work on with Arthur? Absolutely! But I need to work on it and realise he won’t be dreadful, and he won’t be traumatized, and he won’t traumatize another dog. Arthur is Arthur. I need to not get worried he will be like Marley. They are almost polar opposites in every way.

Whether it is another dog you have or have had in the past, or even a friend’s dog; don’t expect the same behaviour. Don’t expect to resolve it in the same way. Appreciate your dog for who he is. And ensure that you are respecting them for the individual they are.

I realise that once again I have neglected this blog! Life has got in the way, as it easily can.

Expect to see more of my inane ramblings in future, on my 4 dogs and a bit more on the work we do with customer’s dogs now and then!

Handling Fireworks Night

Fireworks preparation!

Remember remember your dogs this November.

Fireworks are very challenging for some dogs to handle, the sound can be very overwhelming. It can cause some dogs to spiral into a panic and get into a state.

If this were one night that could be predicted, it would make everything easier for us as dog owners, but we all know that it is generally more like a few days, to a few weeks to even a few months of the noises for some of us!

Get prepared NOW. Do you not wait until the night.

Be prepared if you have:

-A puppy, you may not know how they will handle the noises.
-A recently rescued dog. Again you may not know how they will handle these sounds.
-An older dog. An older dog may develop fears as they age that they didn’t previously have in their youth.
-A generally anxious dog. Fireworks could easily be a trigger for dogs who are generally anxious.
-A dog you KNOW is already scared of fireworks.

Start your prep NOW, don’t delay it.

Search “fireworks” in youtube, and play this sound in the background frequently. Ensure its at the lowest volume possible. So as not to distress your dog. This is important.

Play this quietly at a barely audible level for a few days, then increase the volume after a few playthroughs, only increasing the volume by one “notch” each time. If your dog is reacting or showing signs of anxiety- go back a step. Over the coming few weeks increase the volume very slowly. Do not rush this.

By doing this you will help your dog become accustomed to the sounds.

Often people say to me “But my dogs KNOWS when its the computer and when its not real”
Some dogs can become more anxious when they are real, as there will be physical pressure and sounds much closer and higher. However desensitizing them to the sounds at the very least goes a long way.

My top tip for this is to buy a bluetooth speaker, rig it up to your phone or computer. Then place the speaker near a window. This will help give a more realistic effect of the sound and where it comes from.

For my dogs, I will be exposing them to the sounds at very low levels when they are relaxed, and when they are having meals. So they are getting positive associations and associations with relaxation too.


A den/crate can be a great place to let your dog relax and hide from the scary sounds the night will bring.


Top Tips:

-Ensure that your dog’s i.d and microchip details are up to date. Your dog should be safe and secure on fireworks night, but as discussed earlier you cannot always know when people might let them off nearby on other days. Having all contact details up to date will ensure your dog is quickly reunited should anything go wrong.
-Speak to your vet if you are concerned about your dog and how badly they will handle it, they will be able to advise appropriately.


-If your dog is anxious DON’T let them out in the evening on fireworks night. It is NOT worth the risk. Keep them secure.
-DO NOT take your dog out during the fireworks. This will not reduce their fear and will more than likely backfire.
-DO reassure your dog if they approach you when they are anxious. You cannot reinforce a fear in your dog. Your presence will likely provide them with more comfort.


-Try giving your dog a den, such as a crate or quiet place in the house. This will help them feel more secure. One of my dogs prefers the landing or upstairs on fireworks night so he is allowed to sleep there.
-A thundershirt or anxiety wrap can be ideal for some dogs. BUT please get your dog used to wearing it BEFORE fireworks. Some dogs can shut down and become anxious wearing one, refusing to move. Some owners may misinterpret this as a dog who is relaxed, and then when fireworks arrive the dog will be doubly stressed. Ensure your dog is used to wearing one, and being rewarded for moving around in one if they look uncomfortable.


-Sprays and plugins can be helpful, some dogs get on great with Pet Remedy while others do well with adaptil, while some dogs may appear to show no signs of reduced stress with them.
-Dorwest Valerian Drops are fast acting and provide my oldest Whippet Ollie with much relief on fireworks night.

Whatever happens, be there for your dog and prep your dogs well.

Kongs and similar items might help create positive associations and occupy young dogs throughout.

Help my dog won’t come in from the garden!

This is something that I hear often, particularly from puppy owners.
It can be a nightmare, as you are calling and calling your puppy in from the garden, and this doesn’t work and they continue to run around, in fact when you go to approach them to bring them in… they seem to think its a game and run around more right?


Dogs do what works for them, so we need to be sure coming in when called pays off for your dog.

Think about when you call your dog when they are in the garden. Chances are high you call them, they might initially return, and then you shut them in.

Wow. Double whammy of not so fun! Not only did they not get paid for their good behaviour, but then they had to be shut in, that is a bad result for a dog who wants to enjoy time in the garden.

If you call them in a few times, don’t reward them and shut them in.. and your dog finds time in the garden pays off more…they will decide staying in the garden pays off more, and start ignoring you calling them in. This is what usually happens and then the dog becomes more and more likely to refuse.



There are two simple tips that will help ensure your dog comes flying to you when you need them to come in from the garden!

1. Practice recall in the garden alot. Make sure you are paying your dog with high value treats, be sure not to nag and only use their name and recall command once in a really exciting way!

2. Practice by the back door, call your dog reward them for coming…then let them back into the garden! This teaches them that being called into the house doesn’t mean the end of fun! This will really help to strengthen your dogs recall into the house as it means good things and doesn’t always mean the end of fun.

Also, never chase your dog to bring them in, this WILL make it into a game or make returning to the house stressful, instead practice as suggested above.

Practice little and often and you will find that your dog is soon flying into the house whenever you call them!

Catching up with Marley


It has almost been a year since Arthur came into our house like a little whirlwind! He came in and changed life for all of us with his various quirks. He settled in beautifully with Marley, and they have become firm friends, despite a few challenges along the way (Marley’s determination Arthur’s ears are detachable being just one!) 

It’s hard to believe that in February of last year Marley was struggling badly with pain and his behaviour was spiralling to such a bad level. Marley had always been reactive to people and dogs on walks, but this had become very manageable with a lot of work and commitment, with him and Ollie able to walk and see dogs with no reaction to the majority of dogs we saw. HowevMarley’seys behaviour was becoming very worrying in the home, he had began to redirect on people and dogs at events that triggered his anxiety. Mainly if someone at the door or dogs the other side of the fence. Marley would began to grab and bite whoever was closest whether human or canine when he could hear the neighbours dogs, and began to snap and bite towards us when we went to answer the door.

Along with this he had become hesitant about walking again, and had several episodes where he became lame suddenly and his gait just seemed “off” to me. He had begun growling when any of the dogs went near him when sleeping and started to lash out more and more. Marley has always had a lot of problems, quite a few of the more serious ones in recent years related to his Epilepsy. But he was becoming harder and harder to handle, and more and more agitated. We were told to greatly reduce his exercise to look for improvement. This seemed to help, and I continued to work solidly on his behaviour. Keeping him onlead in the garden and away from the fencing. Very carefully desensitizing him to the door being knocked on and me answering it, as well as ensuring he got the most amazing treats throughout. Marley is a pessimistic dog, so training is always a challenge. He needs so many more positive or neutral experiences to counter balance old behaviour patterns than the average dog.  His behaviour began to improve again and he began to relax more and more. (This is the super short version of his training!)

After many tests and vet visits he was diagnosed with Cervical Disc Disease, this was shortly after Arthur came home. Having a diagnosis was a great relief. Arthur began to bond closely with Marley and seemed to provide him much comfort when he was uncertain. I reduced Marley’s out of the home exercise for a while. It was becoming a challenge to walk him without him reacting due to pain, and on equipment that didn’t cause him further discomfort (he found harnesses most uncomfortable for some reason!) He has enjoyed much playing with Arthur, and brain games and only recently have I realised that Marley is actually much calmer and happier. I had always been incredibly worried about adding a puppy into the home with Marley, however for Marley it seems to have provided him a comfort. Marley has not had a seizure since September 2017. This is the longest period of time he hasn’t had a seizure since his epilepsy began.

Marley is enjoying life at the pace he dictates, and he’s loving that! He gets a walk if he wants, fuss when he wants, puzzles and training when he wants! He is still a much more confident dog than he ever was and I am keen to keep him that way by still taking him out whenever he wants a walk or to meet friends and their dogs he loves!

Puppy Nipping

Most pups will bite in certain contexts or situations. Despite popular opinion ignoring won’t help much! If you ignore it the puppy will just create a strong reinforcement history with biting.
Don’t be tempted to scold, shout at or even physically correct your puppy for nipping, this rarely teaches them anything other than the human is scary and you should avoid them! A lot of puppies nip because they are teething, so be sure to give them items to chew on frequently.
Here are a few tips to help with your nippy puppy.

-Redirect your puppy onto a fun toy rather than you. Teach your puppy what you DO want them to bite.
-Only fuss your puppy when they’re calm if they’re sharky.
-Practice “touch” hand targetting frequently
-Teach your puppy handling is good if they’re nipping from frustration when handled
-Ensure your puppy is getting sufficient mental and physical exercise. Snuffle mats are a great way to slow down a manic puppy.
-Ensure your training sessions are short, so as not to build frustration
-Remove yourself or the puppy from the situation
-If it’s the same situation every time, be prepared and prevent! Prevention is far easier! If your puppy has mad zoomies with sharkiness at 5pm every day, at 4.50pm get your puppy a kong/chew (bully sticks, chicken feet, duck necks), snuffle mat or a puzzle toy. Or be prepared depending on the situation with lots of treats to reward what you like and a line on the puppy to remove them from the situation if they do get bitey.
-Fleece toys are great for pups and fluffy tuggy toys to nibble on.
-If nipping during play with a person, the game is over when teeth touch skin, next time lower excitement level of the game, the puppy nipping is information, he is too excited. Lower excitement and reward for nice play.
-If nipping other dogs remove them from the situation, again this is information, next time keep an eye on play getting too exciting and remove before your puppy gets too nippy.
-Be consistent. If you’re not then your puppy will chance nipping and biting.

Dogs and The Rulebook

Chatting with a customer recently we were discussing the anxiety her dog feels on walks. He is a recently rescued dog who was sadly returned a couple of times prior to his owners adopting him. He has a few quirks and is unsure of the world inside the home and outside the home. At the moment he pulls when anxious and generally unsure of things going on around him. This pulling and frenzied behaviour that he displays only causes him further stress.

His owners mentioned he can walk for hours but come home and not settle, in fact, it can seem to wind him up further. This wasn’t a surprise for me to hear, this can often occur in dogs who are chronically stressed. The pulling and lunging on lead and getting distressed by sudden noises is likely releasing adrenaline and cortisol into his system, this can take several days to flush from the system depending on the stress levels of the dog. As I continued to explain why these walks where he is over aroused might actually be counterproductive and that for some dogs walking everyday simply isn’t for them if its likely to be stressful, the dogs’ owner responded with a great wisdom. She said it’s as though we as people have a pre-written rulebook of what every dog wants and needs, but that actually that might not be true for every dog.

 

Every dog is an individual and all have different needs, sometimes it can be hard for us to move away from those ideas, but it’s important to remember that the “rules” we have in mind when we think about life with a dog, might not be the book of the dog in front of us. They might actually have one that states they would rather be at home and play games than go out and socialise with other dogs. They might actually prefer to go for a walk somewhere quiet once a day rather than have to deal with the hustle and bustle of the city. Or they might prefer a city walk rather than be harassed by offlead dogs constantly.

Looking at what your dog actually wants and needs rather than sticking to the way things have always been done will certainly fulfil your dog more.

 

Growing Up – Arthur’s Adventures

You may have noticed that it has been some time since I posted an update on Arthur’s blog. What can I say, teenage dogs are not quite as straight forward as puppies! Arthur has been going through his teenage rebellion stage and in all honesty, its been HELL.

Anyone who has reached here in the past in relation to my reactive Whippet Marley will know that I’m all about honesty, so it would be a big fat whopping lie for me to say having a teenage dog has gone smoothly…and I’m fairly confident that anyone who has seen Arthur at classes of late will know totally that saying he has been angelic would know I’m telling porkies! I can now say without any hesitation that having a teenage dog has been more of a challenge for me than my 2 reactive dogs put together!

Hormones make our cute sweet little puppies turn into crazed little devils, this is the time when they are wired to take more risks, to spread their wings and fly. Arthur has taken this incredibly seriously, he is more like a Lemming than dog, throwing himself at anything and everything that could be AMAZING FUN. If a wall gets in the way or a gate, it’s no worries, just run at it and hope for the best.  Adolescence causes our dogs to become less consistent with progress, more all over the place. So how has Arthur been going through this developmental period? Let’s start from the start…

Arthur’s separation anxiety got worse. Much worse. His anxiety got worse and combined with no frustration tolerance and teen lower tolerance I found myself unable to leave the house alone without pure precision planning. Lots of exercise, training games, valerian drops and getting my coat on and bag out of view and flying out the door. Walking the others caused him to dig at the doors and SCREAM. Living with separation anxiety is a whole blog post in itself, you cannot escape it. It is always there, you have to plan your life around it.

Arthur’s recall has been iffy from the beginning, where most pups follow you offlead Arthur would happily plonk down and stay sat at the opposite end of the field. It didn’t matter would i attempted to engage him within those early weeks he just sat. So we lost valuable time there. He began tracking scents at a young age and racing off at high speed (think spaniel..not whippet, hes got a few identity issues it would seem!) This became combined with ANOTHER issue. Arthur started to become OBSESSED by other dogs. The grass is always greener springs to mind. I couldn’t wait to get a pup who wanted to be around dogs and people, but onlead (and off!) he began with another issue…He would lay down on sight of a dog and do a Collie Creep and stalk. Yep identity issues. He had it down to perfection and its such a focussed fixed stare no food, toy or games can get him out of it. I have to wait until dog passes, or says hello.

You are thinking, why not walk Arthur with Ollie. Ollie is a supremely well behaved older whippet of mine who is so laid back, with beautiful leadwork and recall. Why not? Arthur loves Ollie. LOVES Ollie. He decided to spend his days humping Ollie. Even when onlead, which I can assure anyone, is not easy to handle on a walk! Arthur was just so over enthused at Ollie joining him Ollie decided to start running home when I let him offlead once, even with Arthur onlead. This a dog who has never run from me a day in his life! Arthur was just high on life, this was an over excitement issue, not something that neutering would resolve.

So you are all waiting what super amazing tips have I got, how did I resolve all of these issues (or have I?!) I would love to sit here and type this wonderful magical programme that has cured Arthur of all these issues. A plan that works for every dog, you follow it and POOF your issues are gone. I know people who will convince others that such things exist… but I’ll let you in on my secret to adolescence. Just remember they aren’t doing it to spite you. Be patient, be consistent in your training. BREATHE.

A few months on from the beginning of Arthur’s adolescence, I can safely say he’s starting to become quite the pleasant little dog. His separation anxiety, it’s dwindling with every passing day, becoming less and less of an issue. Rarely does he become distressed now (a whole entire blog for another day though!) Humping Ollie? It still happens, but much rarer. If he does hump, he will respond to his cue “off” and go and settle on his mat instead. Other dogs are becoming less interesting again, its a work in progress but it’s going much more smoothly now his hormones seem to have settled. His frustration tolerance has increased naturally. He actually cares about working through Kongs now, and similar puzzles. Tasks which caused him to give up instantly only a few weeks ago. He has stopped pulling on the lead again, something he began not long ago. Settling and snoozing with the others is now preferable to tearing around the living room looking for mischief to get into.

I can see him, very slowly, maturing into a lovely young dog. One my other dogs enjoy being around rather than just tolerating. Yes, I’ve had to be constantly careful and supervising and put many hours in. But he will be worth it in the end…I am certain! Next job…nailing this recall!

Pups are hard work, teenage dogs even harder. The key is persistence, patience and not chopping and changing methods. It can feel tempting to throw away positive techniques to train your puppy, as they are firing off all sorts of new behaviours. But Arthur would have some severe issues if I hadn’t tackled this period of time with patience and positivity. If I had left him to howl and cry, he would simply learn that I will not help him, and it would have increased his stress levels likely leading him to more serious issues in other areas of his life. If I shouted at or physically corrected him for any of his behaviours I would be dealing with a handshy dog who was working to avoid various situations, instead, he is finally starting to WANT to engage with me.
It’s a hard time, but it will be infinitely worth it. So keep your eyes peeled for my practical tips to surviving adolescence!

Why won’t my puppy walk?

Some puppies love walkies, from the very first moment they get outside they’re just having a ball. They kind of potter along nearby you taking in all the sights and sounds, likely leaping all over every passerby and wriggling away at every dog! Exactly what you expected owning a puppy to be like.
Some pups, however, don’t quite get the whole walking business. They potter along for a bit and then they put the brakes on. Looking uncertain they lay down or sit or simply attempt to break free of the harness or collar that is trying to hold them prisoner! They don’t seem to be enjoying the experience a huge amount and as we get more frustrated they do too.

      Arthur looking innocent

I picked up Arthur 3 weeks ago now, he is one of those pups! He is a confident young dog but sometimes it just all becomes a bit much. He stops. And he doesn’t often budge. I can get a toy out, I can throw some treats around. I can get all excited, kneel on the floor…yeah you name it I have tried it! He is just a bit miffed by this walking around business, sometimes he is bored, sometimes he is tired. Sometimes he simply doesn’t want to walk. At this age, my main concern is socialisation vs walking on a loose lead. I have seen too many dogs who have never got near people or dogs and ended up with issues as their trainer obsessed over them walking perfectly and having PERFECT manners. He is a puppy, nice manners get rewarded but I want him to be seeing the world I want him to be able to enjoy as he matures.

So here are my top tips for helping a puppy not keen on walkies:
-Do try encouraging your puppy to walk with you, it might not work but if it does, reward them heavily!
-Don’t drag, pull or chastise your puppy for refusing to walk, this will likely worsen their issues with the lead.
-If it is a certain area your puppy doesn’t enjoy/refuses to walk at. Pick them up before you get near the spot and carry them past it. This should help eliminate the behaviour if its certain places and a bad habit vs fear or anxiety.
-Try stopping and standing next to where your puppy is for a moment. Gauge how your puppy is feeling. Now try walking forward slowly again when you think they are ready if your puppy joins you reward them with treats. Sometimes our pups just need a moment and respecting that and moving on will help them.
-Reward them regularly for walking with you. If you like that behaviour vs them refusing to walk then rewarding that more will result in your puppy offering walking next to you more.
-Try walking your puppy somewhere new. Arthur actually prefers busy areas, so we are currently doing lots of trips to more interesting places. You don’t have to walk your puppy there, you can carry or drive them somewhere they prefer. The goal is that your puppy begins to enjoy walking. The time you invest now pays off big time later on.
-Play with your puppy on walks. I jog back and forth with Arthur and he realises keeping with me onlead is great fun!
-Practice leadwork in the home or garden aside from walks, so your puppy learns that being onlead is fun.
-Find a buddy for your puppy to walk with. This can help break the bad habit of stalling as your puppy doesn’t get to rehearse that behaviour when with their friends, they are more likely to continue walking (ensure your puppy is not walking with a reactive dog who they will pick up bad habits from!)

 *This blog is based on a Facebook Post I did. Arthur is now 9 months old and has not refused to walk AT ALL for 3.5 months*