Tuesday, February 17, 2009

New Experience

Yesterday we took all four dogs to a local park for a short walk. Of course, we had to walk in shifts because I can’t handle two dogs at once right now and Timber isn’t quite ready to walk together with another dog. But overall it was wonderful!

This was Timber’s very first walk outside of our neighborhood development.

We’ve come a LONG way with this boy. The first time I took him outside with a leash on he threw himself to the ground. He had NO idea how to act or what to do with a leash on.

We moved from tantrums on the ground to pulling so hard that my hand hurt. We tried to do everything that we knew, but none of our tools seemed to work. And by tools, I mean things we’d done with Trooper. Which, when I look at it never really worked either. He’s gotten better due to his older age and our agility bonding.

So we asked for help from our wonderful daycare staff person, Crystal, who had him walking on a loose leash in five minutes. I was astounded. But of course WE were not that successful when we tried it. She had the immediate alpha touch. And as she says, she’s been using a choke chain for a lot longer and knows exactly how to use it properly.

But we were determined. So we got the choke collar and started working. It’s been very hard work. I’ve never met such a stubborn and willful dog. He still throws tantrums but they are getting fewer and further between. His new tantrum though consists of standing on his back legs and wrapping his front legs around the leash. It’s funny but we try not to laugh. We let him wrestle with the leash and move his front legs back down to the ground and keep going.

Anyway…back to yesterday. I think hubby was nervous. He really hates correcting Timber and gets frustrated very quickly. But things went so well that I was almost in tears.

We did encounter a dog almost immediately and he did his barking, growling, hair raising dance. But hubby corrected him and made him sit quietly before we continued. Trooper actually did worse than Timber. He was pulling me quite hard … but it could be I’m just more sensitive to it lately with my nausea and weakness.

We walked for a good 30 minute and went all the way down to the river. I think we have a water dog!!! It was his first experience with a river. And he dove right in. It was such a blessing to watch. Have you seen the expression of a really happy dog? He had that on his face and I was so happy.

This successful trip means that we can start training more outside of our neighborhood and I’m very grateful for that. I get bored just walking around in circles and I’m sure the dogs do too.

I’m hoping that Timber will really get good at walking gently on a leash. I want to move up to walking him and Trooper together (*gulp!*) and eventually get them to both walk gently together with a stroller. I may need to employ Crystal’s help again. When I have a baby in the stroller I do not want to deal with pulling dogs. They have to recognize the stroller as alpha dog and let it lead.

So much work to do! =) But yesterday was a great, wonderful step forward.

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