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, May 24, 2006

I'm trying to develop a theory of Rockwell's bad behaviour. It's only the one thing - where he goes all "mad dog" on me and refuses to listen. He usually grabs his leash in his mouth and then dances away from me, pulling me around and around in a circle. I'm not sure if this is the same thing as his "mad dog" in the house routine, where he runs around, kicking up carpets and barking wildly.

This morning, I thought I would walk him someplace new and thought about the government buildings that used to be the Nortel buildings. They're all surrounded with nice new sidewalks and he's never been there before. I thought it would be a chance to test my theory that he goes "mad dog" when we turn for home. He was very good for the first 15 minutes. Then, I walked him back out to the main road and asked him to "sit" which he did, very nicely. I don't think he knew where he was although we could see the park from where we were. Then he grabbed the leash and we were off. Not physically, because we ended up crouching on the corner of the sidewalk for the next 5 minutes, but mentally. He wouldn't let go of the leash and I persisted in saying "leave" and trying to jerk it out of his mouth. That didn't work very well. I grabbed his collar and held on to it on both sides of his neck and said "sit" and "leave", depending. All I got in response was mad barking and growling and pulling away. We ended up on the ground with me hanging onto the loose skin around his neck and him on his back but still fighting, with passersby looking askance at us but thankfully not saying anything.

So I'm thinking, it's not the location, it's not turning for home, it's nothing I said... I finally give up and try to head home with him bouncing around at the end of the leash. Because he likes to bounce around in circles, it was difficult. I'd stop every moment to straighten myself out and then we'd continue our bizarre progress. However, this morning, the sun is out and it's warm so I wasn't despairing at least. Suddenly, he stopped misbehaving. I carried on walking and he walked right beside me. I didn't have to get angry (I had stayed remarkably calm before) and I didn't do anything like try to distract him. He just stopped misbehaving and walked calmly all the way home. Whew. So that's why I'm working on a theory - leaving it to random chance like that is not my first choice.

2 Comments:

At 12:16 PM, May 24, 2006, Anonymous Peter said...

It sounds like he's gotten it into his head that grabbing the leash and "dancing" away from you is play. That is, he's trying to encourage you to play with him. When you scolded him and tried to jerk the leash away, he interpreted that as saying, "yes, ok, let's play". Then later, when you walked on and ignored him, he realized you were no longer interesetd in playing. Maybe the solution is to be indifferent and ignore him. Just another theory ...

 
At 2:05 PM, May 25, 2006, Blogger JuliaR said...

Peter, I think you may be onto something! See tomorrow's blog...

 

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