Thursday, June 27, 2013

Leaping Puppies, It's Time For Training!

Rack is no longer the shut down dog we met two months ago.

Oh sure, he still is timid around people.  He still will leave the living room for the comfort of the crate when the trash trucks come down the street.  Big Rig Semi Trucks are a big "Nope" whether he is in the house or out on a walk.

But fortunately he will just sit down or pull toward a wall now instead of knock me off balance when a bus or truck comes by.  It's an inconvenience more than anything else, and I can tell when it's time to go home because I'm being led by the dog and not the other way around.

If there's a dog on the block he's excited.   That is the key, and why I know it's time for training.   It's not a normal adult dog's wagging tail and happy look that he's giving when he spots the other dog, it's a full on leaping in the air crazy puppy time.

That key is firmly in the lock and turned.  Time for us to open the next door.

When he gets to the other dog, he's the one who does the sniffing, so I know he's not completely submissive.  The submissive dog gets sniffed first.  He's got some boldness in there, we just have to channel it appropriately.

As we're approaching, that leaping has to be blunted.  What I'm doing now is to hold him back and slow him down when he meets the other dog.  The meetings have been so wild, so frenetic, that it's a giant barky puppy pile.  It isn't good for him, and it may not be good for the other dog.

They do go through their happy times and calm down eventually, but that's hardly good manners.

Remember, "Calm, Cool, and Assertive" is the goal.  Frenetic Jumpy Barky dog doesn't work, especially when you have 40 plus pounds of McNab bouncing shoulder high at the end of a six foot purple leash.

At this point the Dog Park is out.  He's too bouncy.  Meeting other dogs is great, but I'm restraining him so that he's got the brakes on as much as possible.   It's a great way to drain energy, but that's the purpose of the walk.  After all that adrenalin hits the system, you end up with bouncy puppy after the play time ends and the walk becomes a bit more of an effort.   Add to it the fact that he gets a minimum of 3 walks, 3 miles a day and sometimes as much as 5 miles, and you can see the issue.

He is definitely learning.  Day by day, or even Walk by Walk, he gets better.  You have to expect that with a Mc Nab.  They're a
more intelligent breed than most, if not more intelligent than all others, but even with the smartest of dogs, it does take time.

If your puppy is leaping in the air, it's time to work on that calmness.  It certainly is time for us to work on it.  But my own personal motto here applies:

It's a Marathon, not a Sprint.

Take your time.  If you are frustrated, imagine what is going on inside your dog's furry little skull.  Get yourself calmed down and simply stop walking and recover if you have to.  The dog will take that as a sign to calm down himself, and meet you half way.

But, it really is a Marathon and not a Sprint.

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