Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Leash and the Promise

Finn doesn't fetch sticks, she chews them.  Oh Finn.

Well, you may have noticed that I have reverted back to using this leash, which has a nice hand grip close to the clasp.  About a month ago, I realized that Finn had no idea of what the heel command meant.  I realized this when she dragged me about twenty feet to attempt to jump on a disabled child getting onto a bus.  There is no excuse for that type of behavior.  
I promised myself and Finn that we would become more controlled during our walks.  And I promised myself I would blog a post about it too, because you have to take the bad with the good, right?  So, for the past month, we have been working on being a better walker on the leash.  I made certain of five simple rules, which I wrote down so that I could remember them every time we walk:

1.  I will leave and come into the the house first, she will follow me.
2.  I will call her to come to me  when I put the leash on.
3.  We will use our key phrase, "Do you want to go for a walkie?", to signal it's time to head out.
4.  If I feel her pulling me, I will stop walking and command she stays and sits while I am stopped.
5.  She will not walk ahead of me.  I will reward her when she walks to my side.

I have to say, this past month has been an eye opener.  It took about two weeks to get the command "heel" to work with any sort of regularity, and the only time she really pulls me now is when she sees another dog being walked or when she sniffs out a pile of poopsies left behind by another dog.  Both behaviors I can completely understand, but I am working on getting those to stop too.  We are at a point now where we can walk past people without any pulling, and in general, she isn't walking in front of me anymore.  I feel so relieved and I am so glad we are at this point!  It's taken us a while, but we needed to get there.


  1. Congratulations! Glad to know you both are enjoying your walkies more :D

    Waggin at ya,

  2. And what week would you like me to send Winston to you for training. He is horrible on leash, but then I am not much better at the training end. So glad Finn is doing better and I will follow your tips for sure. Sniffs, The HoundDogs

  3. That's great news about your walkies!!

  4. Hey Finn & Finn's Mom!
    Wow, this is great! I gotta say I would much rather lead, pull, stretch, gag, try to run, etc but everything really works out better when I walk like a good gentleman. Congrats to Finn for working this out so quickly...that's a golden for ya! Anyway, I can give you one huge big tip: My peeps try to get me a little tired before a walk. That's right...they throw my stick for me and run me around the yard a bunch before my walkies and boy do I heel much better! A tired dog is a calmer dog. Anyway, great job to both of you and enjoy your new walkie experiences!
    Grr and Woof,
    Sarge, COP

  5. Our Goldie Annie was a greeter. We went to doggie school where she did very well, but no matter what she just wanted to greet and say "howdy" to everyone! Luckily she never jumped up on people but she was quite a crotch sniffer and that was startling to non-doggie people.

    Practice, practice and have a good time on the walkies!

  6. Mom says that's the coolest leash she's ever seen and will buying one immediately! Don't know WHO she'll be buying it for - hope it's not for any of US! BOL! But really, good job Finn. The peeps seem to like it when we behave really good and it makes them want to take us more places. Yippee!

    The Road Dogs

  7. Okay, Mom gives up already on finding one of those leashes online. Under protest from us, she wants to know where you got yours :)

    The Road Dogs (we don't need no stinkin' leashes BOL)

  8. Great job, Finn and mom! Bet Finn feels more connected to yu because you have worked together, too!!

    -Bart and Ruby

  9. Pawsome and way to go Finn!

    woos, Tessa

  10. Aiiiiiiieeeeeeee I just realized that I (Frankie Furter) am gonna have to teach all this grrrreat stuffs to my Ernie.
    Thanks fur the PAWnters.

  11. Hi Finn, sounds like fun times at your place. All those walkies and mental activities. Gosh we feel tired just thinking about it. Mum says we are going through all that walking business too so nice to have good ideas and hear other people's experiences. Sounds like you and your mum) are doing well. No worries, and love, Stella and Rory

  12. I'm still learning too. I tend to get excited and pull Mom behind me. I'll get there though. Mom's going to observe your mom's list and see if that will help me out some.

    Boondocks & The Love Shack Pack

  13. Awww Finn is one good girl!


  14. Excellent way to work on heel. Finn is a good dog!

  15. Congratulations to you both for the wonderful progress. Hugs and nose kisses

  16. My boys are really bad about barking at any dog or cat they see when we walk.

    Good job, Finn; I know you will do it!

  17. Excellent job Finn! We are so happy that you and your mom can go on civilized walks together!!! xoxo Chloe and LadyBug

  18. Congrats Finn and mom! We're so happy to hear this news. Enjoy your walks.
    Love, Thor and Jack

  19. Well done Finn and Mom for all that hard work! Now you can both enjoy walks together. Love from Magic x

  20. It sure sounds like you and Finn are doing one great job. I took my border collie to obedience school and it was so much fun. It really is nice to have the dog heal and sit etc. The hardest thing I found is the staying. But it sure sounds like Finn is doing really well. Take care.

  21. Woof! Woof! Oh Fin ... Golden Congrats to a great result. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

  22. Most excellent work Finn's momma. The pulling and jumping is hard to break. I'm a classic jumper. Momma's kinda given up on training to prevent it but you may have inspired her. Thanks alot. hee he

  23. I know we all have issuess we need to work on. I know you have read about some of mine. I am glad to hear that your plan is working and that things are getting better. Walks are so important!!! And so much fun!!!

  24. hey Finn,

    That is pawsome! You are a smart pup for learning so quickly! Congratulations! In no time I bet you will be the most well-mannered, graceful dog walking in the park! :->

    I think we are related. Not only do I have the same walking issues as you, but I am a stick chewer as well. Fetch? Nah. I prefer a good chomping on the stick! BOL!

    Keep up the great work, Finn!


  25. So Finn is a retriever that doesn't retrieve ;-) ? Just teasing of course!

    That is a neat leash but alas it doesn't work for a corgi person. I'd be bent in half! It sounds like you are doing great work with the heeling. It will definitely make your walks more enjoyable.

  26. When we first got Dunc he was so excited to walk that he dragged us everywhere. Stopping wasn't enough. He would pull so hard he was practically laying down on the sidewalk, choking and huffing the entire time. He just didn't care about the rules. I tried everything and finally a friend got me a prong collar. It scared the hell out of me because it looked so brutal. But a trainer explained that the prongs didn't actually hurt so much a simulate the bite of an alpha dog on the scruff. I tried it and it worked miracles. I hated the way it looked but I got results. I no longer use it, except occasionally as a reminder when we've had a particularly trying walk. No I carry treats with me everywhere and for the most part we've eliminated the bad behavior while rewarding the good. He heels when commanded although occasionally he does get distracted.

    Congratulations on your hard work. It's all about consistency and perseverance. More for you than for our four-legged companions. Keep it up!

  27. My retriever is 8 months old and all the lead training has suddenly gone! Glad to know it's not just mine that's going through her terrible teens! Well done :)

    Elsie Snout

  28. That's great news Finn. Keep you your good work on the walkies.


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