From the car to the dog park is a challenging area for most dogs to walk on a loose leash. Ace (not pictured) and I went to the 45th Street dog park in Fargo today to practice some on and off-leash heeling. There were no other dogs at the park, so it was a perfect time for Ace and I to practice.
Like most dogs, Ace is often in an excited mode before we even get out of the car at the dog park. I always make sure he is relaxed before I let him jump out. That means he sits and waits until I say “OK.” He never lunges out of the car anymore. But when he used to, I put him right back in and had him jump out on my terms.
The mutt did very well walking from the car to the gate. I had his choke collar on, but it wasn’t really necessary. I took his leash off and we practiced off-leash heeling for the next 20 minutes or so. I made sure to walk randomly, turning into him and away from him and to walk over tennis balls.
The dog park is a great place for Ace and I to work because there are tennis balls everywhere. He gets a double challenge because he is expected to leave the tennis balls alone and heel. One thing I’ve noticed about Ace’s tennis ball obsession is that when we are in a working mode, he leaves them alone. When we’re not working, he easily becomes fixated on anything.
As far as loose-leash walking goes, Ace is doing very well. The only thing that distracted him today was the trash scattered everywhere. Apparently paper, plastic bottles and other pieces of garbage are full of tempting smells. It took a lot of focus from Ace to leave the garbage alone.
Really, the only time the mutt ignores me if he decides he has to go to the bathroom and he can’t wait. I think I’ve unintentionally trained him that he can stop and go to the bathroom whenever he wants as long as it’s in the grass. But it is really annoying sometimes. The only way I know how to fix this is to make sure I give him time to go on my terms so it won’t be an issue for him to make his own “pit stops.” By the way, when a dog is on Prednisone, he has to pee about every hour! Poor Ace.
Although our walk was a half-hour at most today, Ace came home and crashed a lot harder than when we go for a longer walk in our own neighborhood. That just shows how important mental challenges are for dogs.
This is day 15 of my 30-day challenge to work with my dog on loose-leash walking. Click here to see my other 30-day challenge posts.