During the course of our recent travels, I got involved in a conversation with a Colombian guy in which he mentioned having once seen a person pushing a dog in a baby carriage. He sounded stupefied by the memory, which he appeared to find ridiculous beyond words. I understand that. Once I too dismissed stroller dogs and their owners as effete and precious — even decadent. But that was before I joined their ranks, 3 puppies ago.
At first I merely borrowed a stroller from another puppy raiser. I did so because CCI tells us not to take the pups out in public until they’re fully immunized (when they’re roughly 4 months old). Moreover, it takes a while for very young puppies to learn how to walk properly on a leash — without pulling or being dragged. If you want to continue exercising or walking to the local coffee shop, as I do, during the month or two in which these processes are unfolding, the puppy stroller helps a lot.
So when we got Dionne, I bought my own stroller, an inexpensive, second-hand one that I found on Craig’s List. Dionne barked and yelped and tried to claw her way out of it, but eventually she got used to it.
Kyndall, too, took a week or two, but she also eventually adjusted.
Training Beverly to ride in the stroller has been incomparably easier. She fell out once, and it looked like an accident (rather than a deliberate attempt to escape). She never shrieked and barked. Occasionally she stands up and makes high-pitched squeaks, as if she’s politely suggesting that it’s time for the ride to end. But we tell her to sit and be quiet, and invariably, she obeys.
On the assumption that there aren’t many unvaccinated dogs roaming our block, I’ve also started taking Beverly for very brief walks up and down our street. She’s done very well with that, too, but so far we’re only attaching the leash to her collar, rather than to the Gentle Leader that all CCI pups are required to wear. Getting her to submit to the Gentle Leader — well, that’s another story.