Monday, November 12, 2018

When Your Dog Pulls on the Leash

We were walking down the street and Petey pulled ahead enthusiastically.
Around the corner he pulled toward a squirrel.
He heard a dog bark and he pulled toward the dog.
Later, we walked into a room of dogs and he pulled hard, barking.
Petey's pulling had become a problem.



Now that Petey is more than a year old, he's nearly full grown and strong. He also has boundless energy. We use many techniques to help. We provide him with lots of interactive toys to keep him busy. We also use a good, front attaching harness. We like the Easy Walk harness. This has always made a big difference in all our other dogs, but Petey is an especially difficult case!

My first instinct was to stop going out in public. It certainly was easier! But this wasn't teaching Petey anything. Plus, we want to be able to take him places with us, and hopefully eventually he will do therapy dog work with us. So we bought a supply of training treats. I began rewarding him every time he made eye contact with me.



Then I began using this technique when out on a walk. Every time he pulls, I stop walking. He usually eventually stops looking at whatever he's pulling toward and looks at me. I say "yes!" and he comes to me and gets a treat. First of all, this makes the walk really slow! But every time we practice, I notice him pulling less, and stopping to check in with me more.

My friend and dog trainer sent me this video. (Thank you Teri!)



With practice, he's improving. We even walked back and forth in front of a house with a barking dog, and he didn't bark back at all! I'm very encouraged by his progress but I know that it's up to me to keep working with him.

Does your dog pull? What have you found that helps you?

Disclouse: This post contains affiliate links. The products are those I personally use or think you will like.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Ernest Goes to First Grade

We walked through the parking lot, past the big yellow buses, and approached the red brick building. Pushed the buzzer to be allowed in. Then we knocked on the principal's office door.

"Hello. This is Ernest. We're here to visit the first grade today."


The principal smiled and jumped out of her seat to greet Ernest. "The boys and girls will be so excited," she said. She led us down the hall to the room. All along the way teachers and students stopped to pat Ernest. He sure enjoyed that!

 The kids in first grade were all smiles and wide eyes. The teacher had everything organized and ready for us. Ernest laid down on a quilt and the kids sat beside him one at a time and read him their stories--they'd written original Halloween stories all by themselves!

The Mummy who Lost his Bandages.


The Vampire who Lost His Teeth.


The Ghost That Wasn't White.


 The Witch Who Couldn't Fly.  These kids could write!


Ernest listened attentively while they read. Some of the kids were a little afraid of dogs--they didn't want to get too close, but they all showed him the pictures.

Afterwards Ernest gave the kids each a trading card with his "stats."

 

The class gave Ernest a card they'd all signed, and two Halloween toys. He played with the spider right away.  One of the girls gave Ernest a note that said "I Love You." One of the boys asked Ernest to come back. And guess what? He will come back! We're going to visit the first grade once a month. We can't wait to hear the stories again next time.

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