Sunday, September 12, 2010
Walking The Dog
One of the things I love about my new job is I now - after a year - have time to do the things I've had to put on the back burner. The thing I've missed the most is walking and hiking, I've done both for years and this is the first time I've had to do without for such an extended period. As you all know Pearl has had behavior issues so for the past couple of months I've been teaching and reinforcing a new command for Pearl which is "leave it". I started by taking a treat, putting in on the floor and telling her "leave it" - it took awhile of playing keep away (it's got to be positive for it to work so no yelling just being firm). She finally got it so now when we walk if we see other dogs, neighbors, etc and she started the bad behavior (barking, pulling) I just say "leave it" give the leash a little tug - and she stops! She's also being friendly towards the neighbors so it's a vast improvement - but now we have a glitch. The road we walk on is very steep, it's straight downhill on the way out, straight uphill on the way back. The uphill part is the killer but here's the problem. Pearl has realized I have treats in my pocket - I carry them for good behavior - and she would like some freebies. She's also put two and two together and understands I really don't want to drag a 50 pound dog uphill so for the past couple of days when we start on our way back, she sits. She has the gravity of a small mule and despite my desperate commands refuses to lift backside from tarmac. This morning I refused to be bullied by a dog so when she touched my pocket with her nose and refused to move I didn't make eye contact and kept going. For about three feet as she was standing, but had all four on the floor and was pulling BACKWARDS. Then she sat. I dragged her an inch. She didn't care. I said "come". Still sitting. She got up and danced around and as I started walking again - she sat. I looked at her, I looked up the hill, carrying the dog was not an option. She got her treat. I had to wonder as we climbed the last hill, who has who trained??.