19 October 2011

Don't pull

There are days when I question the wisdom of teaching the dogs "don't pull" while walking. Looking at these stairs at the end of a 5-mile walk was one of those moments.

I try to keep a running record of what I want to achieve with each dog I work with and what we work on every day to get to those goals. Do you keep a training log? If not, you may find it really beneficial.

Goals in any part of our lives helps us to see what we want and plan a way to get there. For me, this week has been spent working on don't pull the lead while we are walking. I am currently working with several sled dog breeds -- including my own Chinook dogs -- and there is a definite propensity to pull. To clarify, I have no problem when they are in their harnesses because that is where they are supposed to be pulling, but on the leash I prefer not to be dragged down the road.

Currently the largest dog I am working with is about 90-pounds and the smallest dog I am working with on the "don't pull" skill is about 40-pounds -- she also happens to be a show dog that is getting conditioned to go the the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship.   

Today my success consisted of several dogs moving to release the leash pressure when we stopped, turning around and facing me as we went through doors and gates and looking at me to check in when a deer bounded across the trail. I love the little successes and really appreciate not being yanked down a big hill!

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