Wednesday, August 19, 2009

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

every little bit helps.... I hope!

So I just had to share an experience I had today.... mainly because I suppose it seems to happen quite often in "dog-land" and it just FRUSTRATES the heck out of me. It's when I see an unleashed dog racing over to me and my dog (on leash) or even a dog "released" to approach on a retractable leash (another story in itself).....so today I happened to say something. I hope the few words I spoke possibly sunk in and made some sort of an impact to the dog's owners....but I'm can't be positive since they were young teenage kids and I really didn't explain the benefits of my comments to the dog's owners. I can hope though. :)

So I was walking my sons in the big double BOB stroller and on leash alongside us walked Bosley, our 10 lb terrier. We cut through this one parking lot which dumps us out onto the street we need to get to.... you know, a simple short cut. As we approach the street and prepare to come down the side walk and enter the cul-de-sac area I see two boys (I'm guessing 11 and 17?) playing ball with their large lab/sheppard mix of a dog. Pretty large dog, 80lbs or so. Bosley perks up of course and I click/treat click/treat. He's always so good when passing other dogs. Well this dog was off leash. Here's the thing- I know MY dog is good- but you just NEVER know about the other dog, do you?! This is why there is a leash law..... and even if they say THEIR dog is "good", how do they know my dog isn't!?

We continue to walk by and their dog comes quickly up to Bosley's rear and sniffs. "Let's go" I say as we walk on without any hesitation. The boys meanwhile, are just standing there yelling at the dog to return to their side "come here, hey , -dog's name- , hey, hey, come here". The boys don't move a step. They continue to yell. CLEARLY the dog is highly distracted by my adorable terrier and wants nothing of the sort to return. We keep walking - but slowly enough so that if they wanted to they could grab their dog. I am keeping an eye on the behaviors the large dog is offering and things appear "fine". The boys still haven't moved. Again, the reason I write this today is because I finally said what I always WANT to say on my walks to others- EEK- but never do. I was very "courteous" when doing so- I said " Perhaps you should just come and get your dog vs just yelling at him." And......... what did they do? Just exactly that. Uh, yeah, duh! That dog would have joined me for my 3 mile walk had I not said anything! Okay, well at least for another few houses!

Too often do we just sit back and command! Especially when the dog is clearly overly stimulated to be "hearing" you in the first place. In addition, many people get far too confident with their unleashed dogs. It's just not worth taking the risk safety-wise nor fun for the dog if all he gets is what happened today- yelling, yelling and more yelling and then a big jerk on the collar and yanked back to their ball session.

The positive out of this is that my dog gave me all the attention I needed while walking past that incident. He knew that coming with me was going to earn him a nice reward. I hope those boys started to see a lightbulb at least BEGIN to turn on!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Clicker training other species!

Try it with your dog, your cat, your bird or your horse! Here Chrissy has learned to relax and settle as a result of positive training with the clicker. She has learned that this choice of hers gets her yummy rewards! With training, it's important to always give your animals opportunities to make their own choices- reward those you want to see again! Chrissy knows this behavior pays off!

I've always wanted a big dog!! I wouldn't however trade my 10 lb terrier mix Bosley for the world!