I've been around dogs my entire life, and I've never known a dog who hated to go for a walk. Except for Clancy. In fact, with most dogs I have known, walking has been the highlight of their day, and they jump around like excited children on Christmas morning when they see the leash and know they're about to go for a walk.
Clancy gets excited when I get his leash, but this is only because he loves to ride in the car. When we first walk outside he is raring to go and moves like a dog on a mission, until we walk past my car and he realizes he's not getting in it. Then, he immediately slows down to a near crawl, and looks at me as if he is thinking, “There's been a misunderstanding, I thought we were going for a ride. I'll just go back inside now, thanks.”
One of the reasons I was excited about getting a dog was because I was anxious to have a walking partner. There are a lot of great parks in my area, and I love going on the walking trails. I thought sure Clancy would love going with me. I was wrong.
A few years ago a friend and I took Clancy and her dog Lucy to a nearby park that has a great walking trail through the woods. It was March, and the type of early spring day when just being outside makes you feel exhilarated. I assumed Clancy would be ecstatic about going for a walk with his pal Lucy after we had all spent too much time cooped up inside during a particularly cold and nasty winter. As you can see from this picture, instead of being excited about heading into the woods, Clancy is pulling in the other direction, in a desperate attempt to get back towards the parking lot and the car.
At any park, Clancy is always on the lookout for a bench and a nice spot of shade where he can relax and rest his weary paws. When we are walking around the trails, he hangs his head and plods along, walking so slowly that anyone would think he was about to drop over from exhaustion. At times, he stops completely, and looks up at me as if he absolutely refuses to take another step.
If he were an old dog, I would assume this was all due to the aches and pain of old age. But he has always had a clean bill of health at the vet. And, he shows no signs of infirmity when he chases his feline sibling Nate around the house. Plus, even when we are walking, his exhaustion miraculously disappears whenever he encounters one of his canine buddies in the park.
I don't think Clancy's issues are health-related. I think he just hates to walk. And, my impression is he thinks walking around the same trails again and again is boring. When we are walking on a trail and I start to make another lap around, he always stops and looks at me as if I am wasting his time. He sees no purpose to the exercise.
I still take him for walks as I think he needs the fresh air and exercise. But when it comes to fitness walking, I've had to learn to make due without a partner, and manage on my own. If I need a partner when driving in the car though, I know where to find one.