Sunday, November 26, 2006

Do You See What I See?


No wonder I can't keep her clean!

I've actually had a real breakthrough with Buffy this weekend. You see, she has never had good manners on the leash. I have tried the standard choke chain, and both the Halti and the Gentle Leader, and the Jerk-Ease, but none of them made a huge difference. She insisted on walking ahead of me and pulling very hard. Two summers ago, I hired a wonderful dog trainer to help me with some of Buffy's "issues". So, I learned how to correct unwanted behavior on the leash, and Buffy walked with Caryl, the trainer, beautifully. With me, not so much. I watched hours and hours of the Dog Whisperer, and tried his techniques. Buffy was not impressed.

The result was that I rarely took her for walks because it was not enjoyable.

On Friday morning I decided that we both needed to go for a walk. I had consumed way too many calories on Thanksgiving to sit on my behind all day, and she has more energy than she knows what to do with. So, off we went.

It started off like it usually does. She sits on the other side of the living room nervously while I gently call to her. She doesn't want to wear the Gentle Leader. I think it's because she's stubborn. I don't think the Gentle Leader hurts her at all. She finally slinks over to the front door where I am and lets me put the halter on. She waits on my left side like she always does. She reluctantly lets me take her outside. Doesn't sound too bad yet, right?

Once we're down the steps, she takes over! She's yanking on the leash and making me regret my decision to take her for a walk. We make it about an eighth of a mile, and I'm trying Caryl's methods. I'm trying Cesar's methods. I'm projecting calm, assertive energy! Buffy doesn't give a hoot. She's on a mission. A mission to pull my arm out of its socket.

I become... frustrated.

In my "frustration" I remember Cesar talking about the dog's mindset and that to change the behavior you have to change their mindset. What can I change? I've done everything I can think of... Wait, maybe if I move her to my right side?

That did it! That fixed Buffy's mindset.

Buffy walked three miles with me on my right side, just slightly behind me, in fact.

No pulling.

No lunging at people when they passed by us. (Yes, she used to do that!)

No growling and lunging at children. (That is one of my concerns about her!)

No growling and lunging at other dogs.

Three peaceful miles.

Every now and then she'd try to scoot back over to my left side, but I'd put her back where she belonged and we'd continue.

I thought it might be a fluke, but we walked again yesterday with the same results. And we'll be walking again today. I think I may walk her most days from now on, because now it's easy, enjoyable, and we're both benefiting from the exercise and the time together.

I've become Buffy's pack leader!

I always was.

She just didn't know it.

17 Comments:

  • At 11:22 AM, Blogger Kathy and Joel said…

    Congratulations! It so nice when breakthroughs emerge! Now you both will be able to enjoy your time together outside.

     
  • At 12:39 PM, Blogger Julie said…

    That's awesome! Congratulations!

     
  • At 1:07 PM, Blogger Kathryn said…

    That's great that it was such a simple thing as having her walk on the right instead of the left. Now once you bring your little girl home, you can push the stroller and walk Buffy at the same time. I often see that around town, the dog and the child both going for a walk.

     
  • At 2:04 PM, Blogger Kate M said…

    Sounds just like the dog I had! lol Well done you! She sure does look cute, amazing though how they are so smart and know how to test who the leader is. Someone told me once that it is a great practice of your parenting skills! lol

     
  • At 2:48 PM, Blogger Mariah said…

    You are so funny! My Molly is probably half the size of Buffy but I hear you about the arm socket! Ha! Looks like you made some good progress!

     
  • At 4:02 PM, Blogger Connie said…

    Thank goodness...that picture of you 'frustrated' was a little frightening ;0)

    As for the pic...she looks SO comfy...dirty girl or no ;0)

     
  • At 6:30 PM, Blogger Kristin said…

    How interesting.... I may have to watch some of that Dog Whisperer!

     
  • At 6:50 PM, Blogger Krista said…

    Good to see that Buffy is feeling better AND that she has finally allowed you to become the alpha dog. LOL!

     
  • At 10:54 PM, Anonymous Jacquie said…

    Awww such a nice peacful picture, now if she were in my backyard she be hidden amongst the 2 feet of snow and freezing in the very cold temps. My Aunt is looking for that kind of break thru with mu cousins dog, no such luck yet.

     
  • At 8:08 AM, Blogger Doris & Dan Clark said…

    Good stuff! Yeah for both of you.

    Keep smilin!

     
  • At 10:13 AM, Blogger eggrolls and chopsticks said…

    Well there you are, Buffy is a righty not a lefty! Simple things make for a simple life.
    Happy strolling.

     
  • At 10:53 AM, Anonymous jenny said…

    zugjYAY!!! I love that show!!!

     
  • At 11:10 AM, Blogger K. said…

    She is beautiful! I loved reading this post.

     
  • At 6:38 PM, Blogger Jodie said…

    Aw, that's great! I wonder if that would work on my dog? I'll have to try it. Now you're probably seeing Buffy in a brand new light!

    I love the pictures too. My first thought was "oh, I see a big white rock in her yard". ;)

     
  • At 1:21 PM, Blogger Janet said…

    Hee hee. GOOD JOB! That is great! Buffy just needed to know YOU were the leader. My dog thinks he's the leader too. He kind of is....( I say, with shame) LOL!

     
  • At 5:13 PM, Blogger Donna said…

    I bet some of your techniques will work for you as a mom too (except the leash part!!!)

     
  • At 4:59 PM, Blogger Ford & Alyson said…

    That is just unreal. Too fantastic. I would never have guessed that in a million years. Way to go!

    Go Buffy!

     

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