Saturday morning started at Executive Park for a little training about pulling on the leash. Or rather, to not pull on the leash. With my Fibromyalgia it can be hard to walk the dogs, but especially if they are pulling on the leash. I have my clicker, I have my treats, I have a dog whining to get out of the car. So, what method will I train with? Every time the dogs pull on the leash say "Uh-Oh" and turn to walk the other direction. The theory is that soon the dogs will realize they are getting nowhere and quit pulling. Here's how that works with my dogs. Since the dogs are on a tandem leash, Bradley is just like a passenger in a car. Just along for the ride, not paying attention to where we're going. Just being pulled around by Brodie. Brodie on the other hand is a work horse. As soon as we pull up in the car he sees the sidewalk and knows that is our course. His job is to get around and across the finish line. That is the goal. So we're off. First of all, it's not that easy to just turn around and change directions when you're dogs in combination weigh over 130 pounds. So it's "Uh-Oh." Plant both feet on the ground and hold on to stop them. Then "let's go this way", turning directions. Repeat five hundred times. They don't seem to be getting it. We're just spinning circles. I do realize this is a very distracting place to train since there is the water, the swans, dead fish on the edge of the sidewalk, the interstate noise in the background. But at least I'm at the park and not pacing back and forth in front of someone's house while they call the cops on us. We get about 2 feet further every time we come back because that's where the new smells are. Then we turn around. This is ridiculous. Bradley has no clue what's going on, but then again he doesn't pull anyway. He gets bored and starts picking up sticks to eat as we walk. Brodie is like a GPS, recalculating every time we turn around, reprogramming a new route to the destination. After about an hour, we finally make it to the bridge, almost half way around. I have to take a break because my hands are hurting from the leash. I decide to take a picture of my boys. You can see the difference in them. Bradley is hanging out. Brodie is looking at the course waiting to get back to work. Even the swans don't disturb Brodie as we make our way over the next hill. I think this picture is the male trying to intimidate us. The swans didn't care about us until we got to this side and now they follow us. We're all tired and my hands hurt so we've got to make it back to the car. So I change my method. Instead of turning around when they pull, I just stop and wait for there to be some slack in the leashes. We eventually get back to the car and head home. Bradley is exhausted. But that was just a warm up for Brodie. So we play fetch in the backyard. The AT&T guy is in the yard behind us, where the pit bull lives. Her owners never come outside so when we lose balls over there, we don't get them back. But I persuade him to throw us some. We get a total of 3. Then since all the snow has melted we go behind the back fence to the wooded area to see if we can find any. We don't, but it's still fun running through the brush. And here's a great success, A FIRST TIME. As I'm throwing all the balls back to the porch, Bradley runs after one and brings it back. This is the first time he has fetched a ball of his own volition and seemed to enjoy it. So after lots of praise, I throw it again. Success! Bradley continues to fetch the ball. I can't believe this! The retriever that I thought was broken. I hope that he will continue and learn to love fetching. After two hours of doggie adventure we are going inside to rest.
This is a dog's life.