Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Following my own advice

Not sure what happened to the shy puppy that I had to sweet talk to get him to walk (on leash) around my neighborhood. He now struts with all the bravado and swagger I expect from a 16 year old human boy. Ten feet tall and bullet proof. The past few weeks he has decided how much fun it is to lunge and scream at the end of his leash whenever he sees another dog.

When Liam was his age he went through the same thing, although his response to other dogs was a lot more serious. Liam came to me when he was 6 months old, and I used a gentle leader and worked on focus games and classical conditioning to desensitize him to other dogs on leash. Gimli was a 'city puppy' who by default, learned to deal with traffic, people, bikes, skateboards and other dogs.I think poor Brees is suffering from 'suburban dog syndrome' who unfortunately, has minimal positive exposure to other dogs in my neighborhood. With a combination of poor weather and a gap in training, I realized that I just need to commit to getting him comfortable with dogs around him in all situations.

So I fit him with a gentle leader, which he accepted right away (good sign), and we started working super early in the morning. I take him out on a solo walk with a handful of mackerel treats and we work on 'silly walks', turn-aways, and lots of verbal praise mixed with treats. The worse thing about working a full time 'real' job is that I don't have the time I need to work him they way I want to. But I have to follow my own advice and look for small success's and not get discouraged.

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