Ooky Posted January 14, 2009 Report Share Posted January 14, 2009 Yesterday we took an off-leash hike to work on conditioning and off-leash trail manners. This is a very busy park with tons of dogs, most off-leash, mountain bikers, joggers, and hikers. Odin did great 98% of the time. He does not go off trail unless specifically invited (i.e. to enter a meadow to take a rest, and once to retrieve his Frisbee which had fallen into a brambly ravine – but waited until I gave him the ok and then responded long range to my “easy, easy” commands ). He automatically waits at blind corners or any time he gets more than about 75 feet ahead. He waits in place when told. He self-downs when getting too excited about approaching dogs. And his manners with both people and dogs are improving by leaps and bounds (FINALLY!) To my delight, he now mostly avoids brushy trailside veg that contains a lot of poison oak and easily “leaves-it” if too close. When cyclists pass, he knows he is to get to the side of the trail with me even if they have a dog, and we are working on an automatic down there too. Many people complimented us on his good behavior, which left me with warm fuzzies. However, he’s not perfect. We had one bad incident. What happened was a group of joggers with a very hyper bouncy dog came along behind us and the joggers told their dog to “Get him”, i.e. “get” Odin. ( at that, but my eventual goal is to be bombproof even around weirdos, so whatever). Odin greets the dog as it tackles him and they bound around together for a bit, and as the joggers pass us, he followed their dog farther than his normal 75 ft at a run. At the same moment, a group of about 10 children of various ages + their adults came running down the hill in the opposite direction. They were playing some sort of version of freeze tag. Odin and the other dog ran past the frozen children, but already in just a few quick seconds I could see Odin’s interest in them (he LOVES kids, nothing makes him wigglier), confusion about the speed the other dog was going, and us behind. Quickly getting out of hand, in other words. I sharply called Odin to me and he did immediately leave the other dog, turn and race down the hill, almost hitting one of the children who was now running again. He showed no sign of slowing when he got to me so I tried to catch him but he avoided me, as now there were children running down the hill behind us and he wanted to run WITH them. I called him back again. He whirled, again almost but not quite hitting a kid running the opposite direction, and passed me going the other way, but didn’t go as far. I think it was pass # 4 before I finally had my hands securely on him, and he was gone to bonkers-land by then – wide wild eyes, no focus, etc. I immediately got out the leash, and that is what started the argument. DH wanted to know why I would punish a dog who just came to me when I called. This started the fight because I DON’T think he came to me when I called. He might have finally zeroed in on repeated attempts, but I don’t consider shooting past me a successful recall. Also, in my mind, I was not punishing him, just trying to ensure he was under my control for the next 5 minutes while he calmed down and I could be sure I could trust him again. I wasn’t mad at him, but was mad at myself for not managing the situation better. As far as I can tell, he does not begrudge the leash even if he does have more freedom when off. I also thought it was important that these moms see I was taking steps to get my dog under control while all the children were passing, especially since the younger ones were at the end of their “pack”. Finally, DH wanted me to do off-leash drills instead, which I was also planning for later, but I didn’t have confidence he could successfully complete them at that moment. I have never trained an animal before like this, to accompany me wherever I go and be trustworthy etc. I’ve only trained cats and rats to do fun little things that don’t matter, or inadvertently trained my family’s husky in trail manners without realizing what I was doing. I got DH’s point later which was that the second he did slow down enough, I didn’t reward him, so maybe I reinforced blowing me off? I know my timing sucks and I often don’t know the exact right response to a new situation or behavior. How would you handle a shooting-past recall? AM I expecting too much at his age? “Punishing” him when I shouldn’t? It was a distraction-extravaganza; I don’t remember ever asking him to recall under such challenging conditions. And DH is usually pretty smart. Sorry for the length and thanks for any advice you can give. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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