Sunday, March 14, 2010

Taking The Bad With The Good

I decided to take an evening walk with each dog individually for some one-on-one time and a training opportunity as Teddy's the only one walking as I want him to.

Teddy was of course first, set the correct tone and help me get in the correct mood to deal with Kira. Then it was Kira's turn. We took a short walk and struggled for awhile as she'd hear the click grab the treat and run to the end of her leash at her normal position. It wasn't until I slowed down and held a treat right in front of her nose a few times that we started to make progress. Once I did that she was walking great! Right at my side looking at me prancing waiting for the next treat! I've been working with her for three years on walking appropriately on a leash and I just realized I've been doing it all wrong when I read my clicker training book! We ended on a good note and my not-so-bright dog may have proven herself to be a little brighter than we give her credit for!

Then it was Eclipse's turn. He started out doing very well and then there were kids on scooters that don't care if they're 3 ft from you and still coming straight at you. We quickly crossed the street and regained focus quite easily. At that point I pulled out the beef liver treats as I knew we were coming up on a house that has three goldens (two just a couple months older than Eclipse) that are usually outside so I wanted to "beat" them to having Eclipse's attention. What I wasn't expecting was the Terror Terrier at the house before the goldens that put Eclipse into a hackling frenzy. I got him to sit calmly and clicked and gave him a treat, I even got him to "heel" and walk a few steps. Then the goldens saw us and barked but we worked through it and got on with our walk. At the corner is a black lab mix that is silent but stalks like a border collie. He makes the best training tool! When he stalked up to the fence Eclipse went nuts hackling, barking, lunging, "dancing" you name it, he did it. I can't decide if it's discomfort or stress or anxiety or desire to play that causes these outbursts but they're difficult to control. He nearly pulled me over and I weigh a lot more than he does! I was so happy I had his training collar on him, although I don't like using it, it's a handy tool when it's needed. I put it right up behind his ears, asked him to sit and when he didn't gave him a couple small corrections. He then sat, I clicked and he accepted treats from me. I had him do some commands and we walked a few steps and treated. When he freaked out again it was again time for some obedience drills and very small high collar corrections. He's definitely still got the dog issues that he had as a pup, they're just displayed differently now. I just hope we can get him over it so we can enjoy a nice, stress free walk together without barking/lunging/hackling at the dogs we pass.

Someday, just not today!

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