"Our goal is to have it so you don't eat the kids at the dog park, or my ankles."
I look at Orion who's sitting looking up at me in the middle of the tennis courts.
"You know you should review your goals before starting so you have a clear picture of your objective." I pull out a milk bone, my fingers popping out of the finger/mitten combo I have on. It's 8 AM. We're the only living creatures alive and outside on this 23 degree morning. I shrug out of my winter coat, leaving it in the middle.
Orion's tail flicks rapidly. His eye is on his prize alright. I snap it in half. "Okay, let's go running." I start shuffling a slow shuffle. He trots beside me, eye stuck on the milk bone. We make the width of the court.
"GOOD BOY!" I say enthusiastically and give him the half of a bone. "Okay let's try again." I start shuffling, then somewhat jogging. He dives for my pant leg.
I stop. I stare. There is no warm karma aimed in his direction, no milk bone at my fingertips. "Would you like to try again and this time try harder not to be tempted?"
He barks impatiently.
We make it half way around the court.
"Woohoo! NICE JOB ORION!" I give him a bone.
"Sit. Ready?" Repeat.
On and on we go, sometimes pausing to breath, shed a layer, remind myself this is crucial training, get my leg nearly chewed off, arm too.
Suddenly Orion veers on and plops down in the leaves.
"I take it you're tired?"
"Okay. Me too." I drift off to my bench. Orion resumes rummaging through the leaves that back up against the fence. God only knows what he finds to eat in them but he's content. I rest. Look at my clock. Has it really only been twenty minutes?
"Alright, let's keep going going on our walk buddy."