Wow, what a day. The Queen, AKA Lily The Wonder Dog, turned NINE today. We actually don’t know her exact birthday, but since her arrival ushered in the 21st century and she was about 8 or 9 weeks old, we counted backwards and picked November 18th because it holds resonance for me in several ways and if it’s not actually the right day, it’s pretty darn close. What made the day even more special was having ANOTHER epiphany
a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.
this one about a leash walking issue that was over a year in the making. Talk about simple.
Here was the issue: When I walk with all 3 of my dogs on leash, I have Lily attached to me, Bean attached by a joiner to Lily’s Har-Vest, and Trip attached to me solo. I hope to illustrate with photos someday soon. But here was the thing. If I had Lily attached to me, I put a leash on her Har-Vest 0-ring, ran the leash through the handle, attached another leash to that and wore her around my waist. The length when taut was about 6 feet and I had worked diligently on training her to:
a) pull with just enough consistent tension to move us along at a 3.25 mph rate (using a pedometer to set the pace);
b) walk ahead but have NO tension whatsoever or;
c) drop the leash and have her drag it and be right at my side.
All 3 of these were accomplished with simple voice commands: “pull me”, “no pull” and “stay with me”.
I couldn’t figure out how to get her to just drop back and walk at my side with the leash still attached UNTIL today no matter how hard I tried to communicate “stay with me”. Why?
The only thing we changed was swapping out the first leash for a shorter more tab type leash which made the full length Lily could be in front of me with the slight tension (see “a) shorter — at this length she was 1 foot length in front of me as we walked. And this time, just for fun when I asked her to drop back and after we had picked up my daughter from school and my daughter and I shared the sidewalk, LILY WALKED AT MY SIDE WITH NO TENSION WHILE STILL ATTACHED TO MY WAIST. I’m not sure if I’m really conveying the true magnificence of this accomplishment, and I can’t wait to test it for a second consecutive day, but the ONLY thing that changed was the length of the leash she could be out in front and the change was at most 2 feet. So here it was, my own DISTANCE part of the 3 D’s (Distance, Distraction, Duration) that solved the conundrum.
Stay tuned for more adventures of the nuances of fine tuning training challenges! And wish my girl many happy returns!