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Good days and not so good days.


jami74
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A few days ago I very nearly posted about how our progress was so slow I was starting to doubt we'd ever be able to do normal dog stuff. Sometimes it feels like I say/do/ask the same thing over and over again with no result. But then suddenly, he gets it.

Today, when out practicing our 'walking nicely near a busy road without reacting' (huge grass verge so gradually creeping closer) something clicked in his brain and he, in a very excited way, offered me the heel position that we've been practicing inside, off lead and only one or two steps at a time. Of course, it wasn't perfect, but afterwards I realised that it is the first time we've done any sort of lead training where my arm and shoulder didn't ache afterwards. It also seemed like because he was trying to focus on walking next to me and remembering to look at me for a treat at every reactive thing (bikes, people, buses, noisy cars) that he was less tense and less reactive.

One thing that has changed for me is my idea of focus. I misunderstood focus as a dog that wouldn't take his eyes off of me, and I didn't want that. Now I realise that focus means he is aware of what else is going on around us but ready at any moment to take guidance from me.

We still need to work on crossing that busy road, but we'll do that slowly. Once we can do it without the spinning and somersaulting then progress will be fast as it is right by our home so we will do it once or twice every day.

 

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Ah yes, my puppy does the spinning and somersaulting when we cross a big road also! I have no idea why, or how he even knows it’s different from being on the pavement. 

 

He also still bites bites his own lead on walks when he sees another dog that he wants to go and say hi to. I can stop him doing it by standing still for a while and ignoring him. But I’d love for him just not to do it in the first place. 

He will happily walk on the pavement sensibly, and if another dog walks past us that too is fine, as he can sniff them and say hello. It’s when they’re on the other side of the road and he can’t get to them when it’s a problem. He knows “wait”, from when we are on walks and he goes too far ahead. So I’ve just extended that to crossing busy  roads. I tell him to sit, and then say “wait” every so often. Once it’s clear I say “come on Ben” and we walk over.

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