Sunday, January 3, 2010

Jack's fear of bridges

            We ran 6 miles today (16 miles). The weather was great, lots of sunshine and no wind. I think the temperature was around -17C. We ran a trail at the beginning and then went to the off leash dog park. Jack has developed a fear of bridges that began about three weeks ago. We ran the bridges several times in November but since the bridges became covered in snow Jack has been afraid to cross them. He is especially afraid of the train bridge which is the bridge where his fear began.
            During a December run I started across the train bridge when suddenly the bridge let out a big creak that stopped Jack in his tracks. That was it! He was not going further. I tried to reassure him that everything was OK but nothing worked, not even treats???? Jack would barely take a step before laying down in fear. Because we were on the opposite side of the river from our house I had to either run to another bridge (another couple miles added to my run and hope he would go across that one) or get Jack across the train bridge. In six different tries I slowly carried Jack across the bridge.  He eventually started walking as we approached the other shore. Jack went easily down the stairs to the street with all his fear gone.
      At the time I thought Jack's fear was limited to the train bridge (which is quite different from the others) however his fear extends to all bridges, even to some of the walkways along the river with railing. Jack was timid entering the University bridge when we first got him but would still run across it. Now he walks with great trepidation and when I begin to run, he stops dead in his tracks. One guy even said he thought Jack was an older dog (we meet a lot of people on the bridges now) because of the way he was walking.
       I have no idea whether Jack will get over this and more importantly what I can do to help him get past his fears. There are sometimes I wish he could talk so I could better understand what his fears are. My big guy might need a canine running buddy to help build his courage and overcome his fear :)
      Had a fun time at the World Junior Hockey semi-finals tonight. A few pictures from the game. Canada-U.S. final Tuesday night! Go Canada!!!!

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