Posts Tagged With: loose leash walking

A month of classes

We’ve been going to class for around a month now so time for an update I think.  Spen has been improving slowly.  Not so that anyone would really notice for the most part but I’ve seen the tiny steps in the right direction that keep me going back and working with him.  His recall when I’m with people has been awful for a while.  I think I’ve somehow taught him that he doesn’t need to pay attention to me when others are there so he just goes off and does his own thing.  He doesn’t run off, he keeps an eye on me and won’t go too far, he just doesn’t tend to come to me when called so I have to go and get him.

Today he came when called.  Not instantly, it wasn’t as easy as call him and have him turn and come sprinting back to me, I had to actually work to get his attention and then work to keep him coming to me once he did start to come back.  But a huge improvement.  He has decided that it’s now warm enough to go swimming at every opportunity but I don’t mind that, it’s not like he runs off to go swimming, the walk is along the river in places and he’s happy enough to have a splash around and come out.

He also ignored several other dogs today.  Not class ones, he ignores them completely for the most part anyway, one was a staffie who came looking for treats, we carried on training while it pestered other owners, then there was a collie who came up and sniffed his bum, he looked round and went back to the important business of reading his pee mail.  And then there was a Cav who we walked past on lead without a second glance.  He’s been a lot better with that in general lately.  I guess perhaps dogs aren’t such a novelty now so it’s much easier to just walk past them without greeting them.  He’s usually still keen to meet and greet if the other dog approaches but it’s so nice to be able to pass without any real issues.

Things aren’t going so well with the head collar though.  He’s no objection to it being put on, no objection to doing static work in it.  And half the time no objection to walking in it.  However, when he wants to sniff and is thwarted by it it’s a completely different matter.  Tantrum isn’t even in it.  And he is so adept at removing it very, very quickly that it’s becoming a major point of frustration for me which upsets him and makes him even more likely to object to it.  We’re going to switch to a front attaching harness instead in the hopes that will give me the control I need at the moment without the objections from him.

And some recent pics of him.  Coz how can I have a post about Spendog without photos?

I was sorting through some boxes and stopped for something to eat.  Went back to the bedroom to carry on and this had happened.  Apparently he must fit on the bed no matter how he has to curl up to do so.

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Sock monkey.  This was a present from his secret santa and we can’t go anywhere without it at the moment.

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Out on walks.

 

 

 

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And in my parents garden.

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Of snow, nail clippings and cuddles

Still very little of interest to report here really.  We’re off back to the UK for a visit next month so my beloved Spendog is going to go in kennels.  How am I supposed to survive 12 days with no dog??  The kennels we’ve used here are lovely though.  Nothing special, just the run and bed but the lady who runs them is fantastic so I’ve no real concerns leaving Spen there.  Well, none except for the fact I’m leaving him anyway lol.

Spencer has discovered the joys of the sofa in the last few weeks.  Here’s a very rare pic of me (I HATE pics of me, I’m a big fat blob at the moment!) with him cuddled up.  He doesn’t look too comfy, he’d much rather be sprawled across me than lying next to me.   Excuse the make shift computer desk made of boxes lol.

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When he can’t be cuddled up next to me or across me he lies at the other end of the sofa.  We’ve had to buy him his own fleece blanket because he’s been so intent on stealing mine to sleep on.

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We’ve had snow here recently.  Up to now the winter has been really, really mild but last week saw snow and temperatures of around -13.  It’s warmed back up a bit now and today was a positively tropical zero apparently.  It started out as a light dusting that made it look like everything had been sprinkled with icing sugar.

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But then we got more of it.  Just in time for the husky meet.  Or the Spencer, Demon and Willow Show as it seems to be now.  We left a load of blood soaked snow behind this week, that’ll fuel the rumours of fights and mega serious injuries that seem to have sprung up about the meet.   I don’t know when these fights and injuries have been happening, I must be hiding under a rock while there because I’ve seen none. There wasn’t a fight or a serious injury this time either, Demon simply broke the end of his dew claw off and of course it bled massively.

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Sadly Spendog has had to be kept on leash a hell of a lot in the snow because his nose goes into overdrive and his ears stop working.  I’m not sure exactly what the snow does to scents but it seems they’re more interesting in the snow and Spen gets a little carried away following them.  If he notices me calling him he’s happy to return to me but getting his attention is a work of art when it’s snowed.  So he’s been stuck on a Flexi except for the husky meet.  And todays walk was more like bambi on ice than a walk.  For both of us.  Slipping and sliding everywhere!  I think we may have to stick to street walks for a bit until it either snows again or it all melts.

Leash walking is coming on well on the way home from our walks though.  He’s anticipating it now and at my side without me saying a word or luring him.  He still wants to go off and sniff so he gets rewarded for a brief stretch of walking nicely by being told to go be a dog.  Then brought back in for more work.  I wish I could get a pic of him walking to heel looking all attentive and happy but all I get is a blur of leg and dog.  Still a work in progress on the way out a he’s so excited to be going out but the actual pulling seems to be a lot less most days.

We’ve practised recall in the snow despite the cloth ears.  Of course he had to do his village idiot impression didn’t he?

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And we’ve started work on nail clipping again.  Spens nails are horrendously long and always have been.  The problem is that the quick is almost as long as the nail so I can only take a very tiny bit off without making them bleed.  Apparently if I do it regularly enough the quick will shrink though and I can get the nails shorter. So today we bought some better clippers coz I struggle terribly with the ones we have and I’m going to attempt to get them shorter.  They’re not curling under his foot long or anything but they’re longer than they should be.  Anyway, sat there on the sofa with his dinner in its bowl next to me tonight.  Clipped a nail, gave him a piece of food.  Clipped another nail, another piece of food.  He offered me his paw so I could clip another lol.  Unfortunately he only offers the left paw and I had to insist on the other one being given so I could do those nails.  But he was more than willing to have his nails cut.  I just have to get over my fear of doing them now.

And I shall leave you with this photo I took.  It’s so very rare to get a nice photo of Spen just standing, he’s usually got his nose to the ground, tail in the air and off after a scent.  Or if he is standing still he’s sniffing.  But I really like this one.

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Belated happy new year

Well I’ve been slacking here again haven’t I?  I guess I should have made a new years resolution to update my blog more regularly.  But anyway, Happy New Year to everyone!  Hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year.  I managed to hurt my back some time between the two so spent the start of the year hobbling around and trying to entertain Spendog as I couldn’t walk him. Then just as my back was getting better and I was able to walk again I pulled it again!  Not the best start to the year lol.  But all’s well now.

One new years resolution I did make was to spend some time each day working on Spencers loose leash walking.  I’ve sort of let it slip after the disastrous attempt to really focus on it a few months ago that ended up with me stressed and annoyed and hating walks and him plodding along looking miserable.  So I said I’d spend around 10 minutes a day working  on it.  It’s not a huge stretch of time but I can do 10 minutes without getting angry or upset and he can easily focus for 10 minutes at a time so it seemed ideal.  Truth is, I’ve probably not even been doing 10 minutes a day on it.  I chose to walk on it on the way home from our walk each day.  It seems the best time to start off as he’s not excited about going out, he’s had a good run around to burn off excess energy and is generally in a pretty good frame of mind to do something that’s quite frankly not very exciting lol.  And I don’t think it usually takes us 10 minutes to get home from the field.

So, we’re two weeks in to our loose leash walking work now (first week of the year I did nothing due to the back injury) and I have to say we’ve made more progress in the last 2 weeks than we have in the last 2 years.  I think because I’m not stressing about it and because I’m being more clear about my expectations.  Not just aiming for not pulling but for him to actually be walking by my side for the short session.   Two weeks ago I started out using shameless bribery, waving a treat under his nose and luring him to take a step or two by my side with it before feeding and releasing him to go sniff.  Today we walked all the way home with him more or less by my side (not aiming for perfect heel work) with no bribe.  And when released to sniff he mostly decided he’d rather walk with me instead.  On the two occasions he did go sniff they were only brief sniffs before he returned to my side of his own accord.  The last few days we’ve even managed some very short stretches of it on the field itself.  It’s very difficult for him there as he so wants to be off sniffing but even a couple of steps is brilliant progress.

And he did absolutely wonderful one night last week.  I’d taken him out at that ridiculous time when it’s not quite light but not quite dark when I don’t really like walking for some reason.  Day time walks are fine, night time walks are fine, those murky half light times are not.  I don’t know why, just don’t like them.  Anyway, since there was nobody around I had him off leash and he’s way, way up ahead doing his sniffy stuff and I’m pottering along keeping one eye on him and trying not to fall flat on my face in the mud when suddenly a load of deer burst out of the trees and run across the path right in front of him.  He stopped and stood there watching them for a moment.  Then when I made a noise (didn’t dare try a recall coz I didn’t expect him to do it) he turned and came to me for a treat.  He got half the treat bag while I clipped his leash on and rambled on at him about how good he was for not chasing the deer.  Glad nobody was around to hear me really lol.

Other than that I have nothing really to report lol.  We’re just doing the same old things really.  He has discovered the sofa though and that he likes to sleep on it.

And now for pictures.  We’ve had a really mild winter so far, fair bit of rain but only one lot of snow and that didn’t last long.  As a result most of our walks look something like this.

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However, it appears my dog may be teflon coated as he ends most of them looking like this

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He does like to splash around in the puddles and the mud so god knows how he ends the walk so clean.

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Couple of recall pics

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And this is his “I know you’re going out so gimme my damn Kong and get gone!” look.

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I think I broke him

It’s been nearly 5 hours since Spencer and I got back from todays walk.  He is still crashed out sleeping.  Hasn’t pestered me for dinner, to do something with him or anything.  He did insist on coming putting the washing on with me and he went out for a pee but as soon as we came back in he went back to bed!  It wasn’t even that long a walk, just around the farmers fields, up a little path through a wooded area that led to a dead end and then up another path to where we could see the river but were blocked by a field fenced with barbed wire.  Could have gone through I suppose but I had visions of an irate farmer with a shotgun coming after us so we didn’t lol.  I half fell down a steep hill to let him have a paddle in a streams since he was so dismayed at not being able to reach it due to being on leash.  More fool me, I almost ended up in there with him as he decided zoomies were appropriate.

He wasn’t at his best today.  Didn’t want to pay attention to me for the most part and would much rather have been off doing his own thing.  He did however offer me some lovely loose leash walking.  Nose at knee type.  He’s offering this more and more often so it looks like we are slowly getting there with it.  I don’t think he’s too happy about this whole having to stay on leash business either.  And we’re only two weeks in, we’ve got another 3 months of it yet!  I did get some pics of our walk though and it was enjoyable even if he wasn’t brilliant and we didn’t really go anywhere.  He kinda spoiled it at the end though.  A few people were out playing with their kids and there was a baby in a buggy.  There was also a bag (I think) in the shape of a monsters head with a big grinning face on it hanging from the buggy.  Well Spencer went bananas at it.  I don’t really blame him but it didn’t look good him seemingly barking at the kids.

Anyway, here’s the pics from todays walk.  First we went along the path through the farmers fields.

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Then we crossed the train tracks.  Only at a proper crossing despite Spen thinking we should just head down and investigate.

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Onto another path where we stopped to pull a funny face for the camera

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And to look at the scenery

 

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Then we found a little path through a wooded area which smelled really nice.

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But it led to a dead end so we turned back and went in a different direction.  We found a stream.

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And Spencer was so utterly dismayed at not being able to go in coz of being on leash that I very kindly scrambled down to it so he could have some zoomies and nearly make me fall in it.  He was so happy about being all wet and muddy

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One day I shall find the river and he’ll be able to have a proper play in the water.  Thought about moving to the seaside but chances are he’d swim out to sea and I’d never see him again.

I’ve realised that this isn’t really much of a training blog is it?  It’s more like an “A Day In The Life Of Spencer” blog.  With lots of pictures.

 

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Illness, injury and a visitor

Yet again I’ve been slacking haven’t I?  Not quite so bad this time, not even a month since I last posted but I really do need to post more often!  Not had the best few weeks though really.  First I got struck down with what I think was tonsillitis.  It’s a 3 week wait to get an appointment at our doctors so I can’t be 100% sure but it felt like it.  Then I recovered from that just in time to have our friends Rottie Khan while they were away.  First day Khan was here I bent slightly to take his leash off and my back went.  I could barely walk for the next week and hubby had to do pretty much all the work with both dogs.  Poor Spencer went 10 days without a proper walk coz of me simply not being well enough to take him.  He coped surprisingly well though.  Was starting to climb the walls after 10 days of having practically no physical or mental exercise but I can’t really blame him for that!

I’m more or less recovered now and we’re back to going for walks again.  On leash season started while I was ill though so it’s all leash walks now until mid July.  Taking the opportunity to explore the local area without feeling guilty if we don’t find somewhere I can let Spen off leash and to work on Spencers pulling while on his harness.  I don’t expect him to walk to heel on it, the whole idea of having him on the harness is so he can have a bit of freedom, but I do want him to keep the leash fairly loose instead of almost pulling my arms out of their sockets.  He’s not doing too badly.  We had a very pleasant walk today with only a few reminders not to pull, mostly when we first set out and when we walked down a street we’ve not been down before.  The rest of the time he was wandering along at the end of the leash but not actually pulling.  The walk was shorter than I’d anticipated but I guess the new place and new smells were quite tiring because he’s flaked out on his bed now.

We found a park full of rocks with plaques on them last week and went back another day to do some training.  This is the park.  It’s not very big and I have no idea what the plaques say coz they’re all in German but it gives us somewhere else to practise recall and stuff.

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Spencer was a bit distracted there at first so I just let him have a wander on his long line and get more used to the place.

 

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Then we did some training.  Nothing fancy, just the basic sits, downs and recalls.

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There was a bloke doing something not very far away from us and Spencer wanted to keep an eye on what was going on as well as pay attention to me.

 

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We’ll be going back there at times since it’s fairly quiet without being absolutely dead.  Not the best walk exercise wise since it’s quite close to home but I suppose we could always go the long way round.  If I can find the long way round again that is, we were lost at the time lol.

The evening Khan left Spencer decided we had to make up for all the training sessions he’d missed due to Khan being here and demanded that we do something.  So we did some 101 things to do with a box and I got some of it on video.  Can’t seem to actually insert a video into blog posts so here are the links for anyone interested.

http://s74.photobucket.com/user/sjlwilliamson/media/MVI_1818_zps41a0b10f.mp4.html

http://s74.photobucket.com/user/sjlwilliamson/media/MVI_1819_zps74b37085.mp4.html

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We’re still around

Wow, I’ve really slacked off haven’t I?  Nearly 2 months since my last post, that’s terrible.  Not really had much to blog about though.  It’s been cold, snowy and slippery so walks haven’t been much fun.  Not for me anyway, Spen thinks the snow is great.  Unfortunately attempting to do zoomies while on leash results in an unhappy owner.  But the snow is clearing now and so hopefully our walks will become more interesting again.

 

Spencer has been with us for over a year now.  That seems to have gone really quickly but there have been some big changes in him.  He’s got muscle tone now.  He’s not bouncing off the walls hyper although he is still very active.  His training is coming along well.  He no longer barks at the mere sight of any of the Turkish people.  And we seem to be getting on top of his silly behaviour when he sees another dog.  Finally.  We’ve started going along to the sled dog meet ups that are held on a Sunday here and it seems the regular interaction with other dogs has really, really helped him not lose his mind at the mere sight of one.  He’s still extremely excited if one comes up to him but we’ve passed several on the street without any lunging or whining.  On the opposite side of the street but it’s a start.

We’re still working on loose leash walking.  I’m beginning to wonder whether we’ll ever completely crack it.  He’s actually offering to walk by my side quite a lot in less exciting areas though so I suppose at least we’re making some progress.  Recall is going well unless he’s around certain dogs.  Then forget it, nothing exists except for those dogs.  We’ve done a lot of mat work indoors, basically just getting him to relax on his mat (currently an old towel, I really should get him a proper mat) no matter what is going on around him.  He’s able to stay there and not be all tense while I drop handfuls of kibble or some toys on the floor.  While I open the fridge door.  While I step over him.  While I sit down.  And various other things.  He found it really difficult at first but now he just lies there and wags his tail at me as if to say “It won’t work, I’ll just lie here and get my rewards”.

I think I’m going to set us a goal of learning one new trick a week.  Or one new component for a trick if it’s a complicated one with lots of steps.  I keep starting things and never actually finishing them, never getting them fully on cue.  I have loads of free time and Spencer is a quick learner so shouldn’t be too hard to learn on new thing every week and get it on at least one cue, verbal or non verbal.  I bought the book 101 dog tricks and was most disappointed in it.  It’s a lovely looking book and lots of great ideas for tricks but some of the instructions are awful!  It’s supposedly a positive book yet has instructions such as smacking your dog on the nose and grabbing and pulling the skin behind its ribs.  Needless to say we will NOT be following those instructions!  If anyone has any suggestions for tricks just let me know and I’ll do my best to teach.  I’ll be the problem, not Spen, think he’s smarter than I am lol.

Not really much of an update considering I haven’t posted for 2 months but I’ll leave it there and post some pics instead.

This is his latest thing.  Keeps bringing me his flexi leash.  Excuse the mess, I was ill and the housework fairy must have been on vacation.

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At the husky meet up

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With his new safestix.  Not sure why this picture posts on its side, it’s not on its side on my computer or on photobucket!

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On the new bed we bought him.  Such a hard life being a dog.

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Unleashed!

Took Spencer to the field closest to us yesterday.  Usually I keep him on a long line there because it’s used by a lot of other dog walkers but yesterday it was empty so I thought I’d give him a try off leash.  He did great.  He did a lot of sniffing and marking and running around but we also played fetch, did some brilliant recalls and he offered to walk next to me several times.  So it seems recall is back on track and walking to heel is sinking in.  Wasn’t all perfect, on the way there someone stopped to fuss him and he attempted to have a good old nose around in her shopping bags.  But on the plus side he didn’t jump all over her.

Couple of pics from yesterdays walk.  They’re not very good, it’s hard to get a good picture of him coz he’s either trotting ahead of me which would result in some not so lovely pictures of his bum, interacting with me which is really hard to photograph or standing still and sniffing.  But here they are anyway.

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And the other day we took up a challenge posted on a forum.

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Speaking of forums, I’ve been put on moderate on Dogsey for apparently spamming links to another website.  To my knowledge I have NEVER posted a link to any other dog forum or to any social media sites such as facebook (rules state that is not allowed).  I have said as much in a post to admin and yet my post has been ignored.  The thread I posted was a picture thread with the same title as this blog post with the pics of yesterdays walk and some pictures I’ve previously posted here.  I’m now unable to post over there without having a moderator read and approve my posts and have been told I am being childish so will be treated like a child.  And that is the only answer I’ve been given.  I’ve heard that other people have had this happen to them, others have been banned after having disagreed with the admin  about something.  So, I have removed the link to Dogsey from this blog and will stick with the other forums I’m on instead.  Forums where your posts aren’t scrutinised for anything that might possibly be advertising another forum, where private messages aren’t read by admins and where you’re able to have a difference of opinion without any toys being thrown out of prams.

In other news my hubby went out last night and came home roaring drunk wearing eye shadow and lipstick.  I’m hoping I can get hold of some pictures of him in the dress he was also apparently wearing at one point.  Spen thought he was great fun!  He’s off work for a couple of weeks soon, have told him I’ll be dragging him out on some walks with us.  Might actually get some decent pics of the Spendog then.

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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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Who’s the boss?

I’ve decided that I’m going to teach Spencer to go belly up when I say the word boss.  That way whenever someone tells me I need to show him who’s boss I can just say “Spen, who’s the boss?” and he’ll “submit” to me.  Maybe it’ll shut some of these dominance fanatics up.  I doubt it but I still think it’ll be funny to see their reaction.  Now I just need to teach him to roll onto his back on cue.

Started to work with him on closing doors recently.  I tried it ages ago but couldn’t get him to interact with the door at all.  This time I stood in the bedroom and pushed the door almost shut with him still in the dining room.  Of course that was completely unacceptable to him, I might have escaped using a secret trapdoor or something, and he immediately shoved the door open with his nose.  Click and treat.  Repeat several times.  Then we moved on to the door being open enough for him to see me and him touching it, then pushing it.  Then on me being on the same side of the door as him.  It really didn’t take long once I’d managed to actually get him interacting with the door.  We still need to build up to him shutting it properly but he’s definitely got the idea that he’s to move the door.

Oh, and I’m no longer worried that I’m confusing him with training sessions.  Whenever I’m teaching him something new he’ll be offering it and offering it and then suddenly he’ll stop offering it and try everything else he knows that’s been reinforced before.  Then when all those fail he goes back to whatever we’re working on.  Then a few minutes later the same thing will happen again.  I’ve asked about it on forums and been told I must be confusing him, that training sessions must be going on too long and stuff like that.  Anyway, I’ve been reading The Clicked Retriever and the author talks about something she calls the Training W which is exactly what Spencer (and Rupert before him) has been doing.  Apparently it’s quite common and means the dog is well on its way to really understanding what you’re asking for and you should just wait the dog out.  So that’s a bit of a relief.

Had a horrendous few days with Spen lately.  I dunno whether it’s the sort of darkest before dawn thing as in he’s behaving so badly just before he starts coming out of the teenage stage or what but it’s been annoying.  The other night he picked up a shoe so I ignored him as usual.  He came right up to me, dropped the shoe, stared at me, picked it up, dropped it, stared some more, picked it up, dropped it and spent about 10 minutes doing this.  I was ready to strangle him with the shoe laces by the time he finally gave up!  Loose leash walking has been horrendous.  Recall has gone again, he’s jumping up again and has just generally been not particularly nice to take out or do anything with.  On his walks yesterday though he wanted to interact with me.  Either playing tug or chase or practising his obedience so hopefully whatever it was he’s now snapped out of it, it’s the first time in about 10 days that he’s wanted to engage with me outside.  Fingers crossed!

Hubby has also not been well.  Last Monday night, well Tuesday morning about 4am, he woke up with one side of his face about 10 times the size of the other.  Went to the doctors where they sent him for an emergency dentists appointment.  Abscess under a wisdom tooth so they gave him antibiotics.  Friday he went back only to be sent to hospital to have the wisdom tooth taken out.  Course he had to take transport there and back in case they needed to knock him out to do it.  Poor bugger had the tooth out at around half 2, got home at half 7.  He’d been given no painkillers or anything so of course was in agony.  He now shares my feelings on using the medical transport in the future again.  The words “never again” have come from both of our mouths after our experiences with it.

Oh, and I finally managed to get a picture of Spencer where the camera doesn’t add about 10lbs!  

Also shows his crooked tail but since there’s nothing I can do about his tail I’m not too bothered about that lol.  And forgive the rather ragged looking giant tennis ball, it was Ruperts so it’s all chewed up but Spen is rarely seen without it in the house.  Where he goes it goes.

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