Saturday, March 11, 2017

Walk the Walk

It's amazing how long you can deny addressing a problem head-on. For me, that number is four years!

Teddy is a dream dog in many ways. He's smart, affectionate, does what is asked of him and is well bonded with his humans. His Achilles heel is...heeling (pun intended)! On walks, he prefers to bound ahead of everyone. He's a born tour guide if you ask me. He knows what the command 'heel' means, but he only holds a heel for a second and he's ready to blaze the trail once more! This is a problem when on-leash, as it means he is always pulling! It's gotten to the point where walking him is not fun.

Well folks, the clock has struck twelve and I can no longer ignore the pumpkin in the room! So, for the last week, I have been working with Teddy to heel for the entire walk using the clicker and treats....lots of treats. He may need to join Jenny Craig after this! I'm seeing improvement already! We have a ways to go before he walks nicely without reminders, but I know this is just down to me being consistent with him. Consistency is the key. He can learn things quickly, but the moment I let something slide is the moment I tell him not to take me seriously.

This week, we are also going to start practicing how to see other dogs on leash without having to bark and run towards them. The plan is to go somewhere where can be around other dogs from a distance (a large park for instance). Teddy is rewarded for seeing the other dogs without getting 'excited brain'. When he graduates from distance viewing, we'll allow ourselves to get a little closer, but I don't expect that to happen right away. These things take time.

A recent walk near the river on a beautiful day.
He's very good with other dogs, not aggressive at all, but his level of excitement is such that he stops listening to commands and that can be stressful. So, that's another pumpkin elephant in the room, so to speak. 

Earlier this week a loose dog ran up behind us on the road, taking us completely unawares. Thankfully, that dog wasn't aggressive either and Teddy and the visitor sniffed each other and then Teddy wanted to play with him. He's just on the lookout for new friends, but he needs to learn how to be quiet and calm when meeting new friends!
 
Happy walking!



5 comments:

  1. Oh yes, poodles are SO SMART--they know what they should do, but choose to ignore it in favor of fun and games!!
    Our granddog, Kota, who is a Plot hound that my son and DIL rescued about 6 years ago, was the most grateful and well-behaved pooch on the block. that is, until the two grandgirls were added to the family; since then she has "slipped" a bit--to say the least...but she is so sweet and funny--and I think she knows it only too well--dogs are so funny...thanks for the training update...hugs, Julierose

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  2. Awww he's just an out-going sort! BOL!! I know what you mean though. I am constantly working with Dakota about tugging when we walk. I am stopping every few steps to have him "redirect" Ugh!

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  3. Oh gosh, I'm way worse than you. I've never had a dog that heels and I don't think I've ever had one that doesn't pull either! We would try every harness/gadget on the market to reduce the pulling, but I never trained a heel, until Luke. You are so right that you have to be consistent with it too. I let him slack on that and now he's pulling again. Back to square one! It really takes a lot of patience (and treats, as you said!), and I suppose that's why I fall short.

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  4. My Standard Gypsy was a puller in her earlier years. I ended up putting one of those gentle leader things that go over the nose. It was like night and day. She stays by my side the entire walk. Actually i dont even use it anymore.
    We've been clicker training with our new boy Red and it seems to be working well.
    good luck

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  5. As a biped, it can be a curse owning poodles when their agenda doesn't include themselves right next to your side. Sam is a puller too but walks oh-so 'nicely' with a harness. Elsa is a dream walker except when she decides she wants to see me do my kite imitation on frisky crisp mornings. I love my poodles, really I do. Their smartness is so attractive, even when they outsmart me. 😍

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