This winter’s theme, training-wise, was mostly nothing.
Ugh, it’s raining, let’s get this walk over with.
Ugh, it’s really that muddy… fine, go have your fun, smelly, black dog, but know that there will be consequences. And those consequences involve you and me in a certain large oblong porcelain-coated-metal bowl, along with lots of room temperature water and something foamy. Your black and tan will return to orange and white.
Ugh, I give up, you will never not chase cats. I am the where’s waldo master, if waldo is a cat, and tends to hide in shadows, under shrubberies, on decks, or mockingly in the center of an empty driveway.
Better to just get from point A to point B on-leash, and try not to think too hard about what you were rolling in just now.
I’ve been inspired, though. Jodi has been working with Delilah after a bad incident left her feeling like she wasn’t doing so well at dog parenting. Instead of expecting everything to come at once, she’s gone in stages, and Delilah is back to having freedom to run around, except in areas where Jodi knows there’s too much chance of failure.
That, combined with recently seeing a video on how to store your long-leads so they won’t get tangled (genius!), and a bit of inspiration of my own (use that shortened long-line as his regular leash for the walking portion of the walk = one less thing for me to carry around in my bag), has Gwynn and I back in training mode.
I tie it a bit tighter, and stop knotting it when the total is as long as my usual leash – tucking the long strand through that final loop ‘locks’ the leash in that length while freeing up the clasp for Gwynn’s collar. It creates a bit more of an elastic version of a 6 foot leash. for storing the leash, it works amazingly well – you entirely skip the part of pulling a long leash out of your bag when you have to untangle it.
I commented in a recent post that Sadie has a great recall. Like – whistle her whistle and she will run to you. All out, legs wind milling, ears flapping, giant grin, run.
Gwynn… not so much. Kind of silly when you consider the fact that I have him 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and only walk Sadie twice a week, for all of 2 hours each walk.
I generally just make sure to not let him off-leash in danger zones. The big ones? Near a muddy pond that I really don’t want him in. Near the beach/creek when I don’t want him in (or at this time of year, when the beach is littered with dead things). Somewhere cats might be.
My training goal for the spring is to improve Gwynn’s recall and walking at heel position.
How am I doing this so far? If I’m somewhere I really don’t trust him off-leash, I put him on the long line, and practice sit-stays, sit at a distance, recalls, and just plain encourage him to walk near me. Once he’s good and focused, he gets time dragging the leash. It isn’t perfect. For one thing, if he takes off quickly enough during ‘drag leash’ time, he can get out of leash-stomp range very easily (my leash isn’t too long… maybe 15 ft total?). For another thing, re-knotting the leash into short-form requires a bit of focus/time. But it’s working, and using the long line in short-form reminds me to take the time on walks to work on these things.
Wish me luck!