Monday, May 21, 2012

It's all About Pacing Yourself

We had a few other dogs join the group for morning run on Saturday.  Gunnar decided that he couldn't abide being BEHIND any other dogs, so he took off.  That was fine and I was willing to let him run a bit faster, but he wasn't content to being in front of those dogs, he wanted to be in front of the other humans as well.   Again, I gave him a little time to pass them as well, but he wouldn't back off into a comfortable pace.  He strained at the leash to the extent that he breathing was strained, and frankly, it was a pace I didn't care to run at.  He gave no sign of backing off, so I did.  I stopped, and we let the rest of the group go.  Gunnar certainly didn't like THAT!  But, we sat where we were for a few moments.  Then, we reversed course and ran by ourselves.  Gunnar again decided to charge out like the proverbial bat, but I stopped.  Every time he would run faster than he could handle with comfortable breathing, and without leash strain, we would stop.  Sometimes we'd walk, sometimes dead stop.  Until he would run at the pace I wanted.

Not sure if this is right or not, but it seemed to work.  Seems to tie in a bit with the leash training we did this past Sunday, though.  Anybody with other suggestions for pace control?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Little Squirt

Legend holds that a spray bottle can be a useful tool in discouraging certain undesirable behavioiurs in dogs.  Finding myself in the local Menard's store's garden section, I spied a spray bottle for the exorbitant sum of about $1.88.  Gunnar provided the opportunity soon enough to test the bottle, as he started nipping at Mary whilst sitting on her lap.  From that stage forward, just showing the bottle is enough to send the pup scurrying.

Simple, and effective.!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Gunnar Goes to College

After some change of heart, we decided that Gunnar would accompany us to his sister, Bailey's graduation ceremony at Macalester College in St. Paul, MN.  There was a bit of anxiety being crated up on the way up there, but after about 20 minutes, he calmed down, and I took 3 breaks in the course of the 400 mile drive so that he could get a walk and stretch his legs.   The way home was beautiful.  I think he may have slept the entire way. 

He did get to meet a number of collegiate types and professors, and made appropriate impressions and was very well-behaved.   No bites.  As is the case with us, I think he's wiped out after his travels.  After this afternoon's walk, he entered the house and flopped down on the wood floors.

On a completely unrelated topic, I took him to PetSmart to get his nails done.  The folks claimed his nails were too short already.   Hmmm!   They did take a Dremel tool to his nails, though.   Quite the eventful day for the pooch.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Testing .....

Today we worked on leash management.  Or, dog management via leash.   Whatever!  Through trial and error, I think I've concluded that for OUR dog at least, a series of short corrections works better than a long, drawn out tug of war, constant-strain-on-the-leash approach.

In other news, we tired of Gunnar shredding the old towels and blankets we used to line his crate.  He seems to enjoy shredding them.   Tearing everything into tiny little pieces, some of which occasionally hang from his canines.  So....., we replaced that stuff with a nice padded cushion from the store.   Which lasted ALMOST one day.   Mary came home from morning run to find it demolished.  If this continues, the plastic tray in the bottom of the crate will be all he has. Grrrrrr.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


Well, 2 out of 3 ain't bad!  In Gunnar's case, the throw and fetch thing works well.   In his case, the game becomes throw-fetch-chew.  The goal seems to be to shred the tennis balls or devour the Frisbee.  Oh, well.  Perhaps he'll eventually come to enjoy the repetition part of the game.  I hear that those proverbial puppy teeth will fall out and that he'll be a lot less chewy, if there's such a word.  Hmmm.  Spell-check seems to think there is. 

We did have an accident this afternoon, though.  Gunnar violated the zone of our invisible dog fence and got the reminder that he shouldn't do so.  The flags are down now so the visual cues are gone.  I imagine that this will be something he remembers.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Weather & Other Phenomenon

We had a VERY uneventful walk this afternoon, with virtually no pulling or straining at the leash.  I'd like to chalk that one up to diligence in training regimen and consistent rewarding of positive behaviours, but, there's an outside chance that the high temperature and high humidity may have had some impact.  On our way back home, Gunnar clearly had enough, and mosied over to a nice-cropped lawn in a shady spot, and plunked himself down, full recline, soaking up the coolness of the grass. After that brief break, we made the slow march back home. 

Now, the internet news sites are full of articles about some "giant moon" we're supposed to have this Saturday.  So, thinking about all that hard-wiring in my cattle-breeding puppy, will the lunar influence drive him to another kind of beast?  If we're not at class on Sunday, you'll know that he has evolved into something horrible.

The penny bottle traps have gone untouched all week, until this evening.  The temptation was too great, and Gunnar went for a nice, white running sock.    Yummmy!  The crash sent him scurrying.   We'll see how long before he strikes again.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Storm Before the Calm

I have to wonder what behaviours are hard-wired and which are just that, a particular behaviour.  Gunnar continues to give strong resistance to Mary.   I'm including a pic of tonight's work through the "down" command.  He spent much of the time biting the leash.  After about 5 minutes, he did comply, but......