We came, we walked, we kicked some A$$!
Had a great walk with Brut tonight using his no pull EZ Walk Harness. Man, I can't believe how great the harness and our training is working hand and hand. I'm still using treats through the whole walk and learning how to utilize them even more to my advantage. Now when Brut just gets to the end of the leash he automatically turns and I click and reward. I've been clicking and rewarding for him walking by side and turning his head at me as well. I can't believe how well this is working out. If I hadn't taught Brut a mark point at the end of the leash, I would be pulling against him to turn, but this way teaching him that mark means he is turning on his own. And when he does pull a little ahead or to side, he turns willingly when I tug on the leash. It is better than I could have dreamed.
We have also been practicing when we pass dog houses I make him walk next to me by making a feeding tube out of my hands. A handful of treats that he has to work for to get while still walking right along. We have yet to encounter a loose dog in their yards, but I am feeling ready for the test. I think we have got our routine down pretty solid and I feel confident when it happens if nothing else I will be able to handle it.
We did have our first encounter with a person walking down the road. I slowly reined in Brut who too busy at first taking treats to notice our neighbor. Then the closer we got to each other, I grabbed a handful of treats, but didn't get enough, and as I chain fed Brut I was trying to make the treats last, but was it was beginning to aggravate him. Thriving on his body language as I grabbed more treats and just as the walker was across from us, Brut took the opportunity to move towards the man. I felt it before it happened. I tugged on the leash the second he flinched, then shove more food in his mouth and we passed without incident.
|Finally she's catching on...|
IT. WAS. PHENOMENAL!! I handle the whole situation with a calm, cool demeanor. I was prepared and felt very collected. It was an awesome feeling. I used to make a big deal when people were around. Brut would be at the end of the leash and when I saw people coming towards us I would reel him in next to me and hold the leash in a death grip. One, because I am so nervous and self conscious around people that it would shoot my anxiety through the roof and two, because I was walking this powerful, aggressive dog and I didn't always know what he was going to do. In fact most of the time I would just turn around in order to avoid the whole thing. But this was the first time that I watched Brut encounter someone and not escalate with each step. He actually stayed fairly calm and responded so quickly to my tug it was like a reflex that he took the treats. It was fascinating to watch and be part of something I never thought would happen.
Now I know running into a loose dog would create more fight response in Brut than a human and I know our day is coming, but running into the walker was great practice. I think Brut is noticing a difference with me too. Not only are my anxiety levels down and under better control, but we can walk further this way not fighting each other.
I have always been afraid of breaking Brut's spirit by hard discipline, which for a long time seem the only