I don’t know if you have a dog, and if yes… if you ever walk your dog.
I’m positive on both accounts, with several daily walks, due the absence of a fence around my yard.
My dog isn’t very big, only about 25 pounds (plus 2 extra right now, for the winter fat). She came from the pound, and she has a few issues, mostly with grown-up men. Since there is no grown-up man in our household, we’re fine on that account. She is 3 years old now.
I tried to train her.
I took out some books from the library and read all there is to read about rewards and “punishment,” on how you praise and fuss over the dog when she did something right (even if you had to drag her into it with the choke-collar and all). I read on how you should stop walking when she starts pulling the leach, or any other unpleasant behavior, since taking a walk is a privilege. If she’s still not “getting it,” one should even turn around and go in the opposite direction. Also, I should always have some kind of bag filled with treats handy, in order to “make” her do whatever.
On TV it looks great: the dogs behave after only minutes with the star-trainer Victoria.
The dogs in the books do great, too. Five minutes a day of enforcement is enough to make them comply.
But in reality…. oh my!!!
In reality, my dog takes the treat and then pulls on the leash so hard that my shoulder almost comes out of the socket.
After the first couple of months with her, I had to buy a choke-collar, because my back got so terribly out of alignment. My son urged me to buy the more “humane” harness that goes around the snout of the dog… Well, it took her all but 16 ½ seconds to get the thing off her head.
When I manage to make her walk by my side (“heel”) by pulling on the choke collar, as soon as I say “good girl” and lighten my grip, off she plows, running after the next scent or squirrel.
I have tried the treats, until she got too fat. As mentioned above, she’ll eat the treat, and then take off.
I have tried to stop walking as soon as she pulls on the leash, and wait until she stops pulling. She’ll stop alright, but will start at my very first step again. I think she knows that after 10 minutes or so taking one step per minute, I’ll lose patience before her.
I tried to turn around and drag her in the opposite direction when she doesn’t obey the command to “heel.” It doesn’t matter to her: a walk is a walk, and either way we go, she’ll find something interesting to chase after.
Lately, she even started to talk back… and, of course, she knows how to make those puppy eyes when she wants to get her way.
I’m about ready to write to Victoria. I think it would be fun to see her with my little “Miss Bossy.”