is making stew for supper, so all is not lost.
Yesterday I had the pleasure to meet a really nice dog. Maddie is a year and a half old large breed X. Her owner, Richard, was considering leaving her for a month's professional training with us at Shadowbar. You had to be there to see her leap out of the canopied truck, lose her halti and attached collar and veer crazily around the truck and kennel area like a balloon losing air.
It gets funnier. Richard collected her and put her gear back on, and handed the nylon leash to me. Around the driveway & truck I went like a balloon losing air. I should have had an in tow sign on my back.
Maddie was absolutely focused on nothing except the environment and she intended to check it all out in 10 seconds or less, with or without me. Actually, except for the added weight, I don't think she even knew I was at the end of the leash.
I managed to hand her off to Richard, went to the house and dusted off my old choke chain, yes, horrors, a Choke Chain, and I picked out a nice leather leash and returned to the 'circus' . I flipped the chain over Maddie's head, put it up high on her neck, and we walked off in the same direction sort of. Amazing. Of course, Maddie jumped forward to do her "in tow" trick, and before she hit the end of the leash, I called her and gave a quick collar correction and release on the leash. The dog was back beside me in less than two seconds and received cookies and yes's and pats and praise. In less than five minutes the dog had gone from a zoony to a happy, focused, tail-wagging partner.
She was amazing. I walked her past the kennel runs and she calmed down and walked along as though she'd been doing this for years even though the shepherds were barking like mad.
Richard confessed that he had tried to do a clicker class with a buckle collar and in his mind, he just felt absolutely inadequate with an out of control dog pulling all over the place and disturbing the rest of the class at every step. He had treats in one hand to lure Maddie to at least pay some attention to him, leash in another hand, clicker in another hand. And a hand to pat his leg to show Maddie which direction to go in.
Oh, now I see why that didn't work. He needed four hands for this dog. Clearly, he was correct in not finishing his classes. This was not a win, win, situation and the dog had no place in the class.
I showed Richard how to use the choke chain correctly and sent him away with a mission: to work with Maddie for one month with me email coaching and video clips to assess. On February 14th, both will return to Shadowbar and we'll set out another month's program.
And, Richard will drop off his new Newfie puppy, Moose, to give him a good start here with us while Maddie gets one on one attention at home. The goal? To be able to walk Maddie downtown on a loose leash with distractions. Piece of cake. This is a great dog..with a good owner.
We'll keep you posted.