Sunday, April 14, 2013

Exercise for a small dog

Tasha is doing her homework. Her recommended schedule is one 40-minute block or two 20-minute blocks per day for 10 weeks.

She's wearing her choke collar and we've attached a 15-foot leash to it. That's a lot of slack, if you ask me. The idea is for us to set up three or four checkpoints about 50 ft from each other to mark out our training route. Q: Where in S'pore can we find a 50 ft square space? A: Nowhere. We are walking an L-shaped route back and forth in a vacant void deck, and that'll have to do.

So the exercise: Starting at the first checkpoint, walk to the next without looking at your dog, or inviting her along. If she's good, she'll follow you, else at the end of the 15-ft leash, she'll get a tug and she'll come trotting up to you when you arrive at your destination. Hold for 30 seconds, then move off to the next checkpoint, again without inviting her, calling her or even looking at her. Repeat checkpoint to checkpoint in sequence for the duration of the exercise period.

The idea is to set a routine. When you walk, dog should automatically follow. When you stop, dog stops. This should happen with or without a leash, as yesterday's demonstrator dog so competently showed us. After a day, Tasha learned to follow, though she has no idea what to do with herself when we stop. Ideally, she should just sit and wait... but that's probably going to be another exercise for another time.

Lesson for us: let her poop before commencing training. When we were purposely not looking at her, well, let's just say that there was an unnecessary interruption to her lesson as I rushed around with baggie and tissue paper, picking up after her before any human traffic -- and her trailing leash -- could contact a landmine.

Here we have an emo shot of a dog in training

And this is Ginger George, the high-class freeloader who will only accept a canned Friskies from us. He's causing a premature distraction to Tasha, who should be exercising with distractions only from Day 4-6.

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