We just completed our 2nd week of dog training 101 and with no exaggeration, the class is an eye-opener and at times, depressing. It's mind-numbing to realize how many things you can have done incorrectly in so little time. When you hear Peggy give an explanation, it makes so much sense. So, why didn't we understand this up front? Stupid humans!
You would think that we couldn't screw up something as simple as walking the dog! Another incorrect assumption. Turns out we probably have. With that focus in mind and the weather being pleasant, Gunnar and I went out for our afternoon walk. Previously I would attach him to the retractable leash, give him room to roam and explore, and reel him in as I anticipated dangers or saw him heading in a direction I didn't want to go. I understand now that Gunnar was doing most of the leading in these sessions. Today, I locked the leash at about 2-3 foot length, and with Gunnar at my left, we set out on our normal route. Honestly, the first 3 blocks or so had Gunnar straining at the leash, gasping as he strode. Me, I had the leash in my left hand, with my thumb tucked into my left rear pocket to provide additional support against his resistance. It took about that long before he finally figured out that slowing down and walking at my pace might be a bit easier on the lungs. The rest of the walk was pretty manageable with only occasional pulls on the leash.
We took advantage of the numerous intersections to work on the "wait" command. Gunnar aced that! My insight into this simple walk was that I had to plan ahead along the course and decide what we were going to to at a given point, and how I would react. We'll keep working on this.
Now, I think he has earned a little play time, so it's out to the backyard to toss the ball and chase the Frisbee.