I was feeling a little guilty that I skipped the gym this morning. The day turned out so nice: sunny and clear, that I decided to get my exercise in the great outdoors. And what better company than the three dogs: Lily, Nemo, and Tango.
Well, we just returned from our 2 mile walk and it looks like both Lily and Nemo are in need of remedial education on how to walk on a loose leash. Which is fine because as the weather gets nicer, I'll be happy to be outside and will be able to give this little setback the attention it deserves. Nemo at least realizes that I'm on the other end of the leash even though there's very little slack in the leash. Lily, on the other hand, is very much on alert and seems to forget I exist for the most part.
Tango is perfect on the leash – it's always slack and he's aware that I'm on the other end. I spent more time with him on this particular skill, so it's not surprising that he's better.
For Nemo, I use an Easy Walk Harness made by Premier. It's a terrific, pain-free way to help reduce the pulling power. No prongs, no chokes – just the Easy Walk – and we both enjoy the walk more. So for Nemo, we need to work on just the pulling. Lily needs work on remembering I'm around.
Neither one should be too difficult. But I'll have to work with them separately. For Nemo, I'll simply click and treat when he's close to me. He already pays attention if I'm talking to him, so no need to work on that.
Lily, on the other hand, needs lots of work on simply paying attention to me when we're outside. This, too, should be relatively simple: I'll just take her out on leash (by herself) and stand still. When she turns in my direction, I'll click and give her the most delicious treat I can find. It won't take her long to figure out that we're not moving anywhere and that I'm paying for glances in my direction. Once she's regularly paying attention to me, then we'll begin to actually move. Because her problem isn't so much that she pulls, but that she forgets I'm around, I need to spend most of my time rewarding her for paying attention.
Until we get this problem worked out, I'll have to forget about walking anywhere for any distance. Both of these problems -Nemo's tight leash and Lily's inattention- can be easily and quickly solved, but for the moment we'll have to focus less on quantity and more on quality! If I really buckle down and work on the problem, I bet we'll walking our 2 miles in a couple of weeks! Just in time for more spring-like weather!