Puppy walking

An adventure in looking after a puppy until it is old enough to be properly trained as a guide dog for the blind.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The walking. Oh, the walking. My goal, as I am sure is the same with many other dog owners, is to be able to walk at a pace of my choosing, for as long as I choose, where I choose, and have the dog accompany me without molesting anyone else. Simple? Not really.

First of all we have to deal with the pulling. The balanced lead harness arrangement works wonders but there is still pulling. He pulls forward, I jerk back. I get a few steps of slack lead and then the pulling starts again. Pull, jerk, slack. Over and over. Until he gets tired near the end of the 45 minute walk. I of course, got tired at about the ten minute mark.

Then we have to deal with distractions. Anything that moves, really. Other dogs are at the top of the list for not being able to listen to me, followed by people, birds, squirrels, cats, and blowing bits of garbage. A new distraction is the need to mark with urine. I have been told this will stop when he is neutered but in the meantime, we make an increasing number of piddle stops on the route.

Occasionally, he will stop in his tracks for no apparent reason. When he was much younger, he would stop and sit to think and study something new to him. Now he just stops and doesn’t appear absorbed by anything in particular. He’ll come along when you ask so at least there isn’t any stubborn hanging back. But it is sort of odd.

Thankfully, all of this not-so-great behaviour only occupies maybe ten percent of the entire walk so I really shouldn’t complain. It is true of human nature however, that we do tend to focus on the 10% that is not good and forget about the 90% that is good. For the record, Rockwell is good most of the time and when he isn’t “good”, he’s just distracted.


At 1:46 p.m., April 05, 2006, Blogger 8675309 said...

Hang in there, Julia! We have good days and bad days where walks are concerned. I can't tell you how tired I was after taking Lomax to an amusement park and dealing with his pulling and distraction all day.

As for the marking...I was always told to give a correction when Lomax marked in the middle of a walk. It is hormonal, and you obviously can't do much when you're specifically allowing him to relieve (especially if he's off-leash in your yard), but stopping to pee on every shrub and lamppost is crazy...and I'd be worried that it was sending him the wrong signal about who's boss.

This is where I'm curious, having dealt with a male who was intact for sixteen months: how does your school advise on such things? I'd love to hear other puppy raisers' input on this!

At 11:07 p.m., April 05, 2006, Blogger Natalie said...

Julia, you should have seen me nodding along to your entire post..I was like a bobblehead! :P
That perfectly describes Petey and I, except for the piddle thing, but the molesting thing? 100%

Sorry Jenny...he's going to be 5 months in ten days (still intact) but he's doesn't mark much and not much with the humping either, so no advice/sharing from me lol

Please, Petey, PLEASE just stop with the molesting other people! With some,ok most/all, it's not too good an idea, ya know?

At 4:38 p.m., April 08, 2006, Blogger JuliaR said...

Jenny and Nat, thanks for the support!
I haven't got any advice about the piddling. I was letting him piddle because he would just STOP and go in the middle in the sidewalk. Now I pull him along although that means readjusting the balanced lead from time to time (it doesn't allow for pulling on my part, just his).


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