Monthly Archives: November 2012

Making progress

We’re definitely making progress on the loose leash walking.  Today I walked him up to camp to get a top up for my phone.  Walked him there on his harness letting him have a good old sniff in the grass.  On the way home I switched him to his collar and he did fantastic.  He spent most of the walk home by my side and kept glancing up at me.  Went through quite a lot of treats but we’re still in the very early stages yet and it’s not exactly a boring walk for a dog since the whole way there there’s lots of grass with interesting smells.  As time goes on and he gets more accustomed to what he’s supposed to be doing I’ll increase the time between rewards.

Then later on we went for a wander around the block to practise some more and let him have a pee.  He walked beautifully for the most part.  Then we saw another dog across the street.  Now he doesn’t tend to lunge at them at that distance but he usually does get very pully for about 5 minutes after seeing one.  He had a bit of a prance and a whine at this one but there was very little pressure on the leash and I was able to click and treat him the instant he looked away from it.  We then continued our walk with a nice, loose leash.  So, big progress considering we’ve only been at this for a week.  He’s also offering it off leash in front of the flat.  Obviously we don’t even try that on the roads though.

We had a horrendous day the other day ending in him diving in front of me and sticking his head down to sniff at something. He got a kick to the face and my not inconsiderable weight landing on top of him for his troubles.  Thankfully both of us are unhurt but do you think it’s stopped him doing it again?  Not at all.  Guess it just goes to show how ineffective physical punishment can be.  (I didn’t purposely kick him or fall on him by the way, it just happened too fast for me to avoid doing either)

I think I’ve created a monster though.  This morning I dragged myself out of bed at some ungodly hour to take him out for a pee.  Well he offered his lovely loose leash walking all the way to the bush and then when he’d finished he offered it all the way back.  Coming through the main door he turned and waited for me to close the door instead of darting up the stairs to our door (something I’ve been working on), sat nicely to let my hubby go out then proceeded up the stairs to our door.  Once inside he started offering me all the tricks he knows in an effort to start a training session.  It’s great that he’s so enthusiastic about training but I am NOT a morning person.  It’s about all I can do to get his lead on and get him outside when I first get up!

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Loose leash walking again!

It’s been 10 months and Spencer is still pulling on leash.  Not like he was when I first got him, not on his collar anyway, but it’s still nowhere near as reliable as I want it.  So I’ve been looking into methods I’ve not tried yet and someone on a forum posted about the silky leash method.  I seem to remember hearing about it god knows how long ago but had forgotten all about it and never actually tried it with Spencer.  So yesterday I decided I’d give it a shot.  So far so good.  Tried starting out in the bathroom like the instructions suggest (boring room apparently) but Spencer seemed to think we were playing 101 things to do with the bathroom and ended up standing on the toilet seat with his front paws on the windowsill.  So we moved to the dining room which is a lot bigger but has fewer things to stand on, nose jab, paw, pick up, push, pull and just generally interact with.  It took him about 2 minutes to get the idea that he should move to relieve any slight pressure on the leash and I very quickly had him walking all around the flat with me.

So a short time later we moved outside.  Now this is where not having a garden is a big disadvantage but thankfully Spen is used to training out on the grass in front of our flat coz we do a hell of a lot of it.  So of course it didn’t take him long at all to realise we were playing the same game we were playing in the house.  Don’t you just hate it when your dog appears to be smarter than you are?  Now no matter how I move I’ve got a dog who’s hell bent on keeping that leash loose and finding it a great game.  I end the session after about 5 minutes and let him off leash.  He offers walking by my side.  I of course click and treat him and end up with a dog who’s glued to me.  Todays sessions were much the same only now I’ve thrown in turns and changing pace and am asking for a few more steps before he gets his click and treat.

Now all this is only on the little foot path and grassy area outside our flat but it’s a hell of a lot more than what we’ve had up until now.  We’ve still got a long way to go with it and he’ll still have to be managed on his harness on proper walks but fingers crossed we’ll break this pulling habit of his before April when he’s going to have to be on leash all the time.  If not then by mid July I’m likely to have arms like Arnie had.

In other news we had a guest staying with us for a few days.  Lovely Rottie called Khan.  He was with us for 6 days and he and Spen had a blast together.  The first day was spent with me constantly stopping them humping each others heads but after that it wasn’t too bad.  They played together well and we only had one real grumble and that was over the glow in the dark ball.  Khan had it, Spen went near him and got told in no uncertain terms to go away.  The ball got put away.  No issue with any of the other toys, just that one ball.

 

 

 

Khan went home a few days ago and it’s been rather quiet without him.  Spen’s a bit of a Silent Bob, very rarely makes a sound and when he does it’s usually cos the Turks have gotten too close to the balcony for his liking.

Oh, and I did something really terrible the other day.  He carried the bag of dirty clothes all the way down to the washing machine in the cellar for me.  Waited while I put the washing on and put the clean clothes from the dryer into the bag.  Then he carried the bag back up the stairs into the flat for me.  And what did I do?  I only forgot to take the bag off him and give him his reward.  Just look how abused my poor dog is!

 

Someone call the RSPCA, it’s slave labour!

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New collar

Poor Spencer has been wearing Ruperts old half check collar since he outgrew the collar he came with.  Figured it was about time we got him one of his own since Rupe’s was years old and although there’s nothing really wrong with it it’s looking a bit grubby.  So after finding out that the pet shop we go to out here only seems to stock half checks in sizes that would just about go over Spencers paw I decided to get one from tillymint.  Bit wary of ordering collars and leads online coz you can’t see the quality or try them on before you buy them but a lot of people on the forums I’m on have bought her collars and say they’re fantastic so I ordered one.  It arrived today and I wouldn’t hesitate to order from her again.  Here’s Spen modelling his nice winter collar

 

Can’t guarantee it will be all nice and clean for long.  The fields and woods are like a bog and of course Spencer has to splash through every puddle he comes across.

Had a bit of a shock the other day.  Someone asked whether Spencer was neutered and when I said no and that I saw no reason to have him neutered they replied that they were pleased to hear it, that they don’t believe in neutering a dog just for the sake of it.  I think this is the first person I’ve met who hasn’t instantly told me to get him done as it will “calm him down”.  What’s with everyone being so keen to chop bits off my dog??  He doesn’t have any issues that I think neutering would have any effect on.  I mean I’m pretty sure having his furry plums lopped off won’t turn him from a career criminal to a model citizen!  He turned 18 months old on Monday, from what the vets said he should be morphing into a raging, sex mad, aggressive, uncontrollable beast any moment now.  However, he actually seems to be calming down after the horrendous behaviour of a few weeks ago.  He’s still OTT with other dogs when he first meets them but he’s back to wanting to play fetch when we’re out and actually wanting to interact with me instead of wander off and just ignore me.  He wanted to play the recall game the other day.  He’d sniff around for a bit then when he reached the end of the long line would just stop and stare a hole in my head until I asked him to come to me.  Then he’d turn into a Greyhound and race to me as quickly as possible, get his treat, repeat.  Over and over again.  I’m not quite sure who’s training who here lol.

Oh, and I got some pictures of him helping me do the laundry.  He insists on carrying the bag of washing to the cellar, waiting while I put it in the washing machine, empty the dryer etc and then he carries the bag back up to the flat for me.

First you have to get a good grip on the bag which can be a bit tricky

 

Then you trot along the creepy corridor

 

 

Then when it’s all done you carry the empty bag back.

 

I’m going to try to teach him to load and unload the washing machine and dryer for me.  Partly coz I’m lazy and partly coz it gives me something else to teach him.  He loves to learn and he loves to have a job to do.  He’s currently learning to close doors.  I don’t think it’s a trick my dad will be too impressed with as he has a tendency to slam them rather than close them quietly and that drives my dad mad lol.  I think to mollify him I might teach Spen to fetch the remote control and slippers.  Or maybe to fetch a beer out of the fridge 😉

Hard to believe that 9 months ago I had an out of control hooligan and now I have a dog who’s relatively well behaved and is learning all sorts of helpful things.   And as somebody on one of the forums said, all without force, punishment or surgery.  He’s not perfect, far from it, but he’s happy and we’re having a lot of fun together.  I’m sure one day he’ll be one of those dogs people wish their dog could be like.  He’d probably be one of those dogs by now if I were a better trainer lol.

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