Walking with dogs, part 3   6 comments

Day to day, it often feels as if Miss D is simply “bat-$*** crazy” (to quote a good friend). But after a weekend away, I can see the progress we’ve made in 18 months. I found my old training log. She used to go crazy-wild at every little thing. I had a long list of possible encounters to train for:

1. Dogs barking in the distance (not within sight)

2. Dogs barking behind fences (within sight)

3. Joggers

4. Joggers with strollers

5. Cyclists

6. Walkers

7. Walkers with strollers

8. Rollerbladers

9. Joggers with dogs

10. Cyclists with dogs

11. Walkers with dogs

12. Walkers with dogs and strollers

13. Inanimates: street lamp poles, telephone poles, street sign poles, poles with cables, orange cones, pinecones, …

Suffice it to say, there were a lot. Each one elicited a different degree of craziness from Miss D. To make it more difficult, the degree of craziness also depended on whether the object was coming towards us in the opposite direction (so she can see it getting closer) or coming at us from behind (so she doesn’t see it until it passes).

We’ve successfully conquered many of them. The ones we still struggle with are the ones that, surprise surprise, involve other dogs.

Tonight we encountered a #12: walking mom talking on cellphone with stroller in one hand, cellphone and dog leash in the other. These types of encounters always make me a little more nervous than I need to be. I always wonder how well the other person will be able to control her dog given all her other distractions. But I can’t allow myself to be nervous. Miss D would feel it and react by defending us. Not the reaction I’m training into her! So I took a deep breath, assumed my “I am in control here” persona, and stepped back from the sidewalk, letting the group pass.

Imagine my astonishment when, instead of lunging and jumping and twirling, Miss D sat down.


She still barked her excitement, but she sat down! YES, Miss D! After receiving her reward, she literally “shook off the excitement”. Another calming mechanism we’ve been working on, which earned Miss D another reward. She calmed down quickly, enjoying her treats, and we continued on our way.

It’s a small victory, but it feels good. Maybe we’re finally beginning to trust each other.


6 responses to “Walking with dogs, part 3

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  1. That is such good news.


  2. ..’walking mom talking on cellphone with stroller in one hand, cellphone and dog leash in the other’.. thats like to pass the last question in who wants to be a millionaire… Congratulations!!!


  3. This made me smile, you should be very proud…of her and of all your hard work too.


  4. Incredible! These are the moments when you feel so proud to be a doggie parent 🙂 and, can’t help but also think your dog is a bit of a genius to finally get what you’re trying to train him/her!


  5. Pingback: Sigh | I Love Schnauzers

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