When I decided to get a dog, I thought it would be a nice way for me to begin walking. Little did I know that Shih Tzu’s are not too crazy about walking. I didn’t want a dog that would run me out, but a dog where we can walk at a normal pace or walk as far as I want to walk, not as far as the dog wants to walk.

When Nappy was young I didn’t take him for walks. I waited till he became a year old before I started walking with him. In the beginning we would go just for short walks, so that he can get acquainted with the area and the fact that he is walking on a leash. Eventually, we started walking further, and further. But I always took those walks one step at a time. One day we would walk for 20 minutes, the next for 25 and so on.

Now that he is 3 years old, I am trying to walk with him for about a mile. In the winter I don’t take him walking, because it’s too cold, and besides I don’t even want to go for a walk let alone the dog. But when spring comes and the weather becomes warmer, we start walking slowly in the beginning, and gradually we walk a little further. When it’s too hot outside I still don’t take him for walks because he starts panting and I don’t want to overexert him.

Last Tuesday was a perfect day for a walk. The sun was shining there was a slight breeze and the temperature was in the high 60’s, low 70’s. It was a perfect day for a walk. The last time we went walking was a week before that and we walked for almost a mile. After about a week I thought that he would be ready for another long walk.

We didn’t even walk half a mile and he put his brakes on. Of course, during the course of this short walk, he stopped, sniffed every bush, every wild flower and every tree trunk in his way. I tried to pull him from the leash to go on, but he turned around and started walking back, pulling me with the leash. As if telling me “That’s enough, I want to go back home.” Finally, I gave in, since I saw that he was panting and his tongue was hanging out. I even picked him up and carried him half the way back. He weighs about 16 pounds. While I was carrying him he was very quiet and content. He didn’t even make a move showing that he might want to get off my arms, or show that he is uncomfortable.

We finally arrived home and as soon as he saw our house he started running towards the front yard. He didn’t even stop. He ran straight where the garage door is and waited for me to open it so that he can go inside. Once inside the house he went straight into his drinking bowl, drank as much water as he could handle, which within minutes he brought up (shih tzus are quite aggressive when it comes to drinking water and eating the foods they like, so it’s a good idea to give them everything in small portions), and then he plopped himself on the floor, all sprawled out to rest. I guess that was it for the walk of the week.

When I take my little Napster for walks, it usually takes him a couple of days to recover. He will sleep for the rest of the day and night, and will even feel tired the next day. As much as I like to take him for walks and keep him exercised I don’t overdo it with him, because I know how tired he gets.

The funny thing about this little guy is that he thinks he is human. He didn’t want to go any further and that was it. He stopped and started walking back. He definitely knows what he wants and likes. I tell the story to my friends and laugh about it, (it’s like having a child and brag about something they have done), but I am amazed at how smart they are. I read a lot about shih tzus and what fast learners they are, but I never thought that they would be this smart.

I am glad to have him as a company and laughable companion. Pretty soon I think he will start talking to me. (Really!).

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