What on earth could have brought THIS on? All of a sudden and for no visible reason, Ruby has decided to behave herself on the leash!
Ruby, who's around 2 years old now, is ill-behaved because I was experiencing the Great Deboobfication Adventure followed by a blocked intestine (for a total of 6 surgeries over 12 months) during her crucial formative period. As you may recall, I seriously considered returning her to the breeder, because coping with a puppy on top of all that was a little much. Well, I managed to hang on to her, but I was never up for training her while she a pup and adolescent dog. As a result, she does the sled-dog thing when we go for a doggy walk. Cassie, on the other hand, is well behaved and mellow on the lead.
I use a harness, because she seems to have a sensitive trachea and has had some very frightening choking frenzies as a result of dragging me up the street. The typical quick snap on the collar used for training to heel can easily bring this on.
Yesterday when we went for a doggy-walk, out of the blue she SUDDENLY stopped dragging. Whereas she usually takes off like a husky hitting the Iditarod, this time from the git-go, when she felt the harness start to tighten against her chest, she STOPPED PULLING. Whaa?
They were so cute just walking along together, side by side. It was awesome, and it lasted for most of the walk.
The park presented a sore temptation -- some guy had tied two big bulldogs to a tree on about 30- or 40-foot-long pieces of clothesline rope. They were charging passers-by. Even though we were a fair piece from them, when one of them spotted us it charged us at full speed, hit the end of the rope, and was literally slammed so hard it flew into the air and fell to the ground. The other dog did the same when it realized what its pal was charging at. They then charged a group of teenage girls who were trying to walk past them. Ruby showed some signs of defensiveness. Cassie, who is absolutely no fighter, just wanted to keep walking, but Ruby lunged at them, so I had to do some hauling to get out of this idiot's vicinity.
After we got away from that spectacle, she kind of forgot her new trick. But we'd been going for awhile and so she was too tired to drag very hard.
I don't know what brought on this miraculous change of heart. About two days before, I'd tried using the quick "jerk" on the harness when she dragged, but it didn't seem to have any effect. It hasn't in the past, and so I'd pretty much given up with that strategy, as I did the following day. So this moment of quasi-training had occurred two days before and hadn't appeared to make much impression. I can't imagine WHY she suddenly decided to quit trying to haul me to Yuma.
Got any thoughts about how to foster this change of doggy heart? Bearing in mind that any pressure on a collar seems to harm her?
If there's anything I've learned from having Ellie in my life, it's that you never know when a corgi will decide to finally give in to the human's whims. :) Ellie is turning 4 this year and suddenly, about 2 months ago, she decided to start signalling that she needs to go outside. As a puppy (and even up until age 2) she would ring her bells about 60% of the time or just do her business right in front of the door. From age 2-3 she would rely on either ringing the bells or body-slamming the door if she really meant business, with only rare usage of other signals. Now...she doesn't use either and will, instead, come over and put her paws up on me with that "I need to go potty!" look. Why did it take her nearly 4 years to finally signal? Who knows! I praise her heartily every time she does it, though!
My only suggestion would be to praise her when she's not pulling. Though, if verbal praise makes her over-excited and causes pulling, you may wish to use just treats or some other reward.
She was praised beyond belief...because I was amazed beyond belief. (wait...does that rhyme?) If anything, the treats make her more excited than praise. She seems to enjoy cooing and admiration, but food drives her wild with ecstasy.
Pop her a treat when she's walking on a loose leash and she will start offering the behavior more often.
I'll try that again. Last time we tried that strategy, she would grab the treat and then lunge into the traces. :-D
Vicky, when Jack was young and exuberant, I had much better luck working on leash manners in the second half (or later) of the walk, when he had worn off some energy. The very end of the walk was off-limits for training because he hated to go in the house and would frequently flip onto his back and refuse to move, sooo..... Well, obviously you don't want to start with the hardest behavior. So in mid-walk when he was a little tired but not worried yet that we were almost done, I'd start with rewarding him for walking next to me quietly. I gradually backed up asking for good behavior earlier in the walk but then would only ask for it for short periods. I am NOT good at doing that thing where you don't move until the leash is loose. I find it maddening. And with no fenced yard, we rely on the leash for everything so refusing to allow a dog to move when he's been trapped inside all day and hasn't been able to potty is, frankly, cruel.
I think I've finally got him where I want him. He's 9. lol
Yes! That's so true of Ruby! By the time she's run off some steam, she's almost civilized. :-D
The other thing is, if you stop the forward pace of the walk, which she apparently thinks of either as idle strolling or a gigantic invitation to ADVENTURE, and ask her to do more typical training maneuvers (like heeling with you around in a big circle or turning around and following you as you back up or zig-zagging back and forth or even just "Watch Me!"), she's absolutely perfect. It's "forward" that seems to be the big distraction.
And interestingly, she's learned to do the same thing Cassie does, which I've never had any other dog do: they both will go in the direction I point my hand. Cassie can be quite some distance from me and will obey this gesture. Naturally, I haven't dared to try that with the puppy off a lead...but she does it on the leash.