Wednesday, April 02, 2008

My Dog Has ADD

It's not enough that I can't keep myself focused. Coco has all the symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder and it's driving me a little crazy.

She will ask to go out to do her business. We get out in the yard and she proceeds to meander around, looking down the street, investigating a pill bug, cocking her head to listen to a mockingbird, and basically forgetting what we came out there to do in the first place. And she really does have to go, but she forgets. I've learned that it will take her about 10 minutes or so to finally focus in and get down to business.

Our walks are an exercise for me, and I don't mean the walking. She is in constant motion forward - backward - side to side - following her muse to investigate whatever little thing has caught her attention. Yes, most of it is to investigate where other dogs have been, but a lot of it has to do with wanting to sniff a flower. Sometimes to taste a flower. Sometimes to push her nose against a tar wiggle in the pavement to see if it will move. Sometimes to look up and watch a bird fly. Sometimes to stand stockstill and listen to the conversation of a neighbor. Sometimes to trail after a butterfly hovering close to the ground. We pass a clump of bushes and she peers inside to see if there is anything there. (Once we passed a bush where a neighbor was crouched down behind it doing some yard work. When the neighbor moved, Coco looked at me like "I told you we should check the bushes".) Calling what we do "walking" is a bit of a stretch.

Mojo, on the other hand, is concentrating on getting his walk done and getting back to the safety of the house. The first half of the walk he and I are bouncing along behind Coco as she leads us all over the place. When she starts to run out of steam and he's made all the necessary stops to get his pertinent business accomplished, he begins straining at the leash in the direction of home. I quite often am caught between two ends of the leash - him pulling as hard as he can to get going and her wandering around behind me checking out the neighbors. I think my arms are a little longer now than they were this time last year.

A couple of times a day when I'm home we will go in the side yard and let them run and frolic for about 15-20 minutes while I watch out for people heading down the street with dogs. Coco turns stone cold deaf when we are in the yard. Her ADD will head her to the neighbor's house, to the yaupon bushes at the back of the yard (hoping to find a squirrel or bird to chase) and sometimes to lie down in the sun with her back to me (so she can really pretend not to know I'm calling her). I can walk right up to her, calling her name, and she will stare fixedly in the other direction until I loom up and she gives a classic doubletake with a "did you want me?" look on her face.

It's a hoot when I'm rested and aggravating when I'm tired. Mojo I can depend on to stick close by and come when called. Coco, on the other hand, is moving to her own drummer. Sort of like a 60's flower child. (Anybody remember Leigh French on the Smothers Brothers Show? That's my Coco - all love and sweet and floating in another dimension.)

I fear it may be contagious. Yesterday in the middle of the walk, Mojo suddenly flopped over on his back in a big clump of clover. I thought at first he had found something dead to roll in, but it turned out he just wanted to roll around in the sweet clover. I hope it was a fleeting impulse and not a sign of things to come.

I don't know what people without dogs do for entertainment.


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