Sunday, May 18, 2008

Ovals Not Enough

Lily is far more intense than the other dogs, and she has many years of practicing bad habits on leash, so I expected the circuit work to go slower with her. We've been working on it for about two weeks, and it really hasn't done much to calm her. She has a very tough neck, and hardly seems to notice that the leash is tight most of the time. I noticed today that she always forged ahead at the same place on the oval, despite walking mostly on a loose leash for the rest of it. That's when I realized that she's merely practicing bad habits on the oval, and if I keep doing everything the same she's not going to get any better. So I switched to figure-eights, still in the same area. I focused on walking my pattern, not on Lily, so I tripped over her a few times. It didn't take long for her to be paying more attention to me than she ever has. Even when I went back to the oval pattern for a few rounds, she stayed intent on staying by my side. I stopped after a few rounds, because I wanted to end on a high note.

In hindsight, I should have figured this out earlier. She's a herding breed, and needs far more to keep her mind occupied than most dogs. I'll keep doing interesting patterns for the next several training sessions, and see how that translates into general loose leash walking for her.

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