End of backbending and Ty in his playpen

Yoga time!


Tyler had his first obedience class with the new teacher. He and I arrived first at the park where class convenes. You should have seen him as cars drove up, and out came PEOPLE! and DOGS! and MORE PEOPLE! with MORE DOGS! He thought it was the best party ever.

All kinds of dog meetings and sniffings and cavortings. And then we got down to business.

Lesson of the night: walking on a leash. The teacher explained that what we needed to do was start walking with our puppies. As the puppies pulled out ahead of the person, we were to let them run out the length of the leash, then suddenly turn in the other direction. Which jolts the pup and makes him pay attention (at least theoretically).

It’s kind of cool and aikido-like. Basically, the pup is jolted back with the same amount of energy he’s using to fly out ahead.

“Let me use Tyler for a demonstration,” she said.

I handed over the leash.

The teacher starts walking along. Tyler walks along with her, looking up to see who she is. She slows down to see if he’ll run ahead. He looks at her and slows down. She speeds up to see if he’ll get excited and bound forward. He glances at her, then trots alongside.

She laughs and stops. Tyler looks up at her, then sits at her feet.

“Tyler’s a genius,” she announces.

Actually, he’s just always been good on a leash. He doesn’t pull ahead and he doesn’t try to stop and dig in his heels. The only thing that kept distracting him was the pinecone we kept passing as we did laps of the walking exercise. He’d slow down and eye it, or try to get a sniff of it. Back and forth, back and forth. He was pretty disciplined about sticking to the exercise and forgoing the highly compelling pinecone.

When we finished class, I grabbed it and stuck it in my purse. Then I forgot about it.

Yesterday morning, as I was checking email, I saw him standing on his hind legs at the counter, trying to get his nose in my purse. Oh yes! The pinecone.

Apparently, they are delicious.


17 Responses

  1. Hello. What a great story. My dog is a 15-month old female lab mix that we got from a rescue organization several months ago. She’s a really great dog, but has a serious problem containing herself when we try to take her for a walk. The problems start as soon as she sees the leash. She flips out with excitement, jumping, jumping, jumping, biting, biting, moving around so much that you cannot get the leash on her. If you try to hold her still to do it, she play bites your hand (can be painful). It is extremely frustrating. If you manage to get her leash on her and get her outside, she strains so hard on the leash it sounds like she’s choking herself. Normally we walk this way for several minutes until she gets tired enough from straining against the leash that she’s forced to slow down. In order to try to control her better on the leash, I’ve tried changing direction, and stopping and making her sit. Nothing seems to get through to her. Any advise you could offer would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

  2. What a fun story… and that video! Can I say this? You’re so cute. You tiny little yogi, you! Tyler looks way bigger than I had imagined him to be! It’s nice to have genius pets, isn’t it? I’m positive my cat is smarter than most of my neighbors.

  3. Hey Leash Problem, I’m no expert, that’s for sure. But the teacher did talk about the pre-walk craziness. She said that if the dog goes wild at the sight of the leash, you then put the leash down and don’t look at the dog and go read a book for a few minutes until he (or she) calms down a bit. Then pick up the leash again. If it’s another total crazy response, go back to the book. Again, without looking at the dog. Do that until the crazy diminishes, and then proceed. Next week I’ll ask the teacher if she knows of any good online resources for you. You’re not in the Phoenix area by any chance, are you? I’d totally recommend the teacher we’re taking classes from.

    Liz, yes you can say I’m so cute. LOL! Tyler is growing so fast. He weighed 10 pounds in mid August, and not even three months later, he weighs 50 pounds. It is actually really cool to see a creature grow so fast. I’ve never seen anything like it.

    And yes, judging from your blog, Henry probably is smarter than your neighbors. 🙂

  4. Aaaaah, more pics of Tyler, as I requested! He is huge. I like this new puppy teacher already!

    You are so teensy! Very cute.

    For Leash Problem, I was going to suggest maybe leaving the leash on her in the house for a few days/weeks/months? Also, she sounds like she might need a LOT of exercise at first…..pretty difficult when she goes crazy at the sight of the leash, LOL.

  5. Hi Donustzenmom, thanks for this promptly reply. Your recommendation will not work with my dog. With her, you would read not only one book but an entire. 😦

    I’d guess since this is a 15 month old lab, that she’s a pretty strong girl. Much too strong for me to tolerate all that jumping and foolishness. Well, you know the story, if I cannot control my dog I cannot train her. Comparing your training example with your very cute dog (oh he is so cute 🙂 )I noticed that you have started by retraining your dog that jumping, nipping, etc. will be an unrewarding behaviour. That is really interesting approach, it just add creativity, or not? Also, you command him to sit and then you sit and I see you’re waiting him until he complies. That is smart.

    I believe that my dog will eventually teach herself because she prefers to be in the comfort zone and will be walking on a heel only if approached with honesty. But I have to read more on this. Thank you for the reply. Yes, I am from Arizona.

  6. entire……………………… library

  7. Haha! Very funny, Zee. Your syntax made me suspicious in the last comment. It’s pretty unique.

    As I understand it, you don’t have a lab, but an ox that you are trying to train.

  8. ha ha ha Karen! 😀

  9. then… let it be.. the ox 🙂

  10. Arizona Dream has ability and self-confidence that comes from being able to control Zee, an ox weighing more than 3,000 pounds with her honesty and a delete button switch.

    However that is not a coincidence. She graduated from “Ox Driving International”, a Peace-Corps training, historical and hobbiest ox-training school in Phoenix, Arizona. She successfully completed a couple dozen courses where she learned to drive oxen teams using voice commands and moving up to a variety of field tasks such as plowing. She concentrates on driving skills, but also introduces yoking, training, hitching, and options to voice control systems. (Check about bringing your own Ox to Arizona Dream.)

    Cao Karen my workd day is over. Have a nice evening.

  11. Karen – thank you for the ‘6th Sense’ experience. I didn’t figure out that it was zee the first time through, but after you exposed him I went back and re-read the comments and the clues are obvious: “Any advise”, “behaviour”, “it just add creativity”.

    Somewhere M. Night Shamalyan is smiling!

  12. It was a very good trick!

    Not to suggest it rivals Gil the Widget Salesman, though.

  13. yes landslideee again, Appolonia of Don Michele Di Corleone,
    She is only one capable to make bithday twice.
    Ah Cody, one day you will learn something from me.

    Easy come…. easy go…
    Thunderbolt and lightning,
    very very frightening…

  14. 🙂 This is the way it goes.
    because I can

  15. Mmmm. Less inventive, those last three comments, Zee. Enough for now, yes?

  16. you don’t need to appologise.. I can not find decend melody.. stuck in the moment is the best for this short kick … good night

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