Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Taking him home

This is a little out of order, but if you read the last post, you gathered that we took Jacques home.  Last night we went to his foster mom's house, put our new collar on him, signed a few papers and sat for a few photos, and then took him for a brief walk around the neighborhood where we picked him up.

Jacques has a different concept of what a walk looks like than I do though--his previous owners never taught him to heel, which means that he spent the entire walk at the end of his leash, doing his best to run beyond it.  I really do sympathize with his excitement at all the new smells all around, but this is a habit we'll need to break soon, because its not safe for him to be out of control around cars.  Eli gave me some good advice with vegetarian treat recipes, and if somebody has tips or experience with teaching a dog to heel, that would be awesome.

Once we finished walking, we stopped got in the car, and Mita did her best to keep him in her lap, but again, he was pretty excited by all the action outside the car, so this was a bit of a battle.  This means that travel will have to be in a carrier crate, since it's just not safe for him to be climbing on me or getting into my field of view when we're driving.


  1. Well. Some advice from the trainer that helped with my dog:
    1) when you're out walking, give treats every time you stop and they come back to you. This reminds them that you are the most interesting thing on the walk (as you own the treats).
    2) even when walking a normal path, change directions every minute or so without notice. This makes them pay attention to what you are doing, reinforces that you are in charge of the walk, and usually keeps them at a slack leash (because who wants to get yanked left all of a sudden?).
    3) let the dog play around in the car when it's NOT moving (but you're in it), and find out where he wants to be. Obviously, your lap is out of the question, but if he's pretty chilled out on the floor at the passenger's seat - then put down a little mat for him, and give him treats every time he lays down in that spot. You can extrapolate this to where you ACTUALLY want him to be later, by then moving the mat to the back and reinforcing the treat/mat link in that spot.
    4) lamb treats are still the best. I don't care how delicious those carrots are ;)

  2. Wow, number 3 worked like a charm. After about 5 unexpected circles around trees in the park followed by random wandering in the apartment building, he was on a slack leash. Hopefully he'll hold on to the idea about a slack leash, and keep it, so after a few days like this he keeps the slack leash.