I like to do sporadic posts about how Raiden’s progressing, so here it is.
Some days he’s fantastic and very responsive, and we often have those walks where instead of running about off lead he will just walk beside us and offer eye contact…Rey, GO HAVE FUN!!
With the onset of summer, smells and distractions have become more exciting to him though, and whereas him doing something ‘naughty’ used to be rare, it seems it’s a daily occurrence now.
He’s blown off recall once or twice for ‘incredible’ things, but the thing that’s getting to me at the moment is when we ask him to give us attention on lead; sometimes he completely blanks us and stares obstinately in the other direction, as if there’s something amazing over there.
He seems to think when we ask him to come to us on lead, it’s because there’s something really exciting up ahead – like how if we saw a dog we’d say “this way Rey!” so we don’t bump into them.
So now I’ll say “This way Rey!” in the usual upbeat manner, and if he’s being a jerk he’ll stop sniffing and stare ahead, desperately trying to see what we’re removing him from. Then I say “Rey, come on,” in a firmer tone, and after that I walk backwards, pulling the lead with me, until he turns and gives me attention.
The entire process is over in less than 5 seconds, and he gets a few seconds to make the choice of coming when asked…if he doesn’t, he gets left no choice 😛
It seems we’ve created this problem as now he thinks whenever we ask him to come to us / change direction on lead, it means there’s something up ahead…and it’s hard not to reinforce this thinking as in the daytime especially when we ask him to change direction, of course there’s going to be *something* he can look at, be it a person, bird, whatever.
In amongst the crap moments there are some real gems though.
Just last night he was off lead in the pitch black on the beach, and a way behind us Raiden must have seen something and was doing his ‘I am so damn excited‘ yap-yap-yapping.
This has NEVER happened before on a walk other than when he has been playing with another dog. My guess is he saw a mouse or rabbit and lost his shit XD
Anyway, we let him yap for a while and then just as I was about to call him all went quiet, and we heard him panting his way towards us at top speed through the darkness – LOTS of treats for Rey!
He then went back to whatever it was and continued with his mad yapping. I was fine with that, he just did some bloody awesome engage-disengage!
I left it about a minute and then called him. I wasn’t really expecting him to come – when he’s so excited he’s doing non-stop yapping he’s completely over threshold – but our other option was to try locate him (shouldn’t be too hard haha) and then catch him!
Anyway I called him…and he came!
LOTS of treats, and then we released him to go back as a life reward too. Off he went.
This time the yapping was further away, so whatever it was was on the move. We left it a while longer then called, AND HE CAME AGAIN!
Lots and lots of treats, then I put him on lead and we walked on 🙂
We also had a crazy walk the other day where we happened to go to the field when there was a child’s football game on, the kids looked about 7 years old. The field was teeming with kids, coaches, parents and siblings – there was yelling, screaming, cheering, whistle blowing, everything.
Raiden did engage-disengage like a pro! I would loved to have filmed it, but didn’t want to seem like a weirdo 😉
As we were just past the field I whipped my camera out and filmed Rey remaining calm and doing some disengages.
We were just leaving the path right next to the football game, and then ahead of us there was also a handful of kids playing on a raised tarmacked area by the path. There was one adult and some kids, and two of the kids were riding a loud mini-quad bike. Raiden rocked it again 🙂
That video was from a few days ago.
Yesterday I tried something new for the first time, so I could have Raiden’s lead AND be able to dish out treats.
We’ve got the Hurtta training lead, we bought it after Bonnie’s owner posted a review and we got suckered in with how pretty it is and the fact that it has multiple D clips, which we love.
I’ve never used one of these leads as a hands-free belt before, so this was a first…I LOVED the experience though!!
I’ve walked Raiden on lead less than a dozen times in the 8 months we’ve had him. With rehoming Zoey it became my partner’s job to walk him as I was stuck in the house with Zoey, and then after that I didn’t have the knack and struggled to manage treats and lead.
Check this out 😉
Since first trying this yesterday morning (I don’t know what made me think to do it, the idea just came to me) I’ve had three successful walks with Raiden now 😀
It’s incredibly easy to manage, although the fact he’s small and rarely pulls obviously helps.
I tend to have my right hand holding the lead at all times, loosely, just because otherwise I found the lead jerked Raiden a little with every step I took. It’s nice to know that I don’t *need* to hold the lead though, and that I can drop it at any point to deal with treats, pick Rey up etc.
I did have an issue with my treat bag preventing the rope from being able to turn and just generally getting in the way, but that was resolved when I moved the lead above the bag…problem sorted.
I really want my partner to try walking Rey like this, to see if he likes it too 😀