Sunday, November 29, 2009

Loose Leash-Sniff Walk, Let's Go, Close and Hello Schatze

I'm loving our loose leash walks, and so is Ellie. We still get a few pulls if we pass the dog park and it happens to be busy, but all in all, the leash is mostly loose.

I tie knots in the leash for the different levels of walk-attention that might be called for. No, I was never a sailor, but it seems a pretty effective way to establish space requirements under differing situations.

The longest leash is 'sniff-walk' where the only rule is that the leash stays loose. Ellie can sniff, roll, leap, play, and basically do whatever she wants, as long as that leash stays loose. She's on her own reconnaissance here, and doesn't need to check in with me. However, if she does check in, I'm still clicking and offering her a food reward. She doesn't take the food reward often here, as the roll or sniff is high value.

Knot1 is "Let's Go". This is our let's move ahead together, focusing on what is coming up. This is for walking around the park, around the neighborhood. I am clicking and rewarding for every check in, holding her food reward close to my side for her to come and get and telling her 'Good Girl." Moving is as much of a reward to her as eating, so I just make sure that I have the food as an offer.

Knot 2 is "Close". This is somewhere near the obedience 'heel', although I'm not expecting automatic sits upon stopping at this point. This is for walking on sidewalks on busy streets like Broadway, when another dog who isn't under self control is close by, or simply for when I want a closer attentiveness from Ellie. She is doing great on sidewalks, and we have some practice to do when passing the busy dog park.

Speaking of, why don't I always have my camera with me? Ellie met up today with Schatze the Rottweiler. Schatze is a big girl, and very patient with our playful Ellie, who has a hard time taking no for an answer. I was glad for her to have this kind of encounter with Schatze and grateful for Schatze's willingness to be a good teacher to Ellie. And, I'm grateful to Schatze's person for his understanding and interest in watching the dogs be dogs. Namaste.

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