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 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.