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Friday, February 25, 2011
We Are Still Walking!
I wanted to incorporate loose leash walking, but was waiting for the opportunity. The other day, I tested it out on him with great success. The dog that used to yank me left and right and drag me around, was staying within his end of the leash! It was a miracle! So I went back and forth throughout our last couple of walks between the heel position and loose leash walking. He did fantastic! There were still small pulls and tugs, but nothing compared to our pre-training walks. Chance is also teaching me grave amounts of patience. When he pulls I stop and wait for him to sit and make eye contact. Not just a quick wavier, but a connection, this tells me he is ready for my instruction. The scents he is after may have total control of his brain and it takes him a few minutes for him to come back into focus. And I found, I have time. I'm not going anywhere without him, so I've been giving him that time to readjust and that we aren't moving in any direction until he's fully engaged with me. This is quite a revelation for me as walking has always been about getting from point A to B. I also have accepted that turning around and changing directions is also part of our walks. No matter how much the neighbors laugh at me. This acceptance has made our entire walking experience much more relaxed and enjoyable. I am loving it.
On our walk tonight, I stepped up the challenge a little more by walking in a heel position through a wooded trail. I had tried this earlier in training and it was something Chance wasn't up to yet. Today he flew through it with flying colors. He was spectacular. This whole experience have given me a sense of freedom with walking Chance. I have been testing him, but he is also testing me. It is the longest I have went with any sense of consistency. He knows what to expect and understands what I am asking of him, because I asking the same thing every time. What a difference! I am seeing improvement with both of us and there is a real feeling of accomplishment. My husband's way of walking Chance doesn't seem to having any effect on his walking with me. BONUS!!
I thought for sure the last time I tried and failed at these attempts of walking Chance, that was it. I was never going to try again. I was doomed trying to keep my arm in one piece every time I walked him. I think sometimes it is all about timing. I have found this in many areas with my dogs about training that I have tried over and over. Sometimes the timing just isn't right, whether it be for them and for me, but when you finally click together is one of the best feelings in the world! Now that Chance is such a great walking companion, I don't want to even think about walking the other five who are all in desperate need of the same training. LOL I can't even imagine all the challenges that are awaiting me for the next few years...except that some day it will all be worth it!