Why putting my dog on a lead improved our relationship
Updated: May 13, 2020
You know sometimes we have a habit of making something complicated when the answer is simple. Put a lead on it.
As a dog trainer i can very easily over think the behaviours of my 4 month old pup. Any issues that arise (and they do weekly) i have a good understanding of why they have been created or i have watched the slow increase of a behaviour i don’t like. Often it is a slow burner, you deal with is, cope with it and manage it. As a dog owner its one of those things.
She’s done that thing Again!
It’s a bit of a niggle, then another and then it can be an unlucky coincidence. Then finally a close disaster. That is when you say right that’s it i need to fix this, i can’t have that happen again, never!
I am a dog owner and a dog trainer and i like the animals that live in my home to free thinkers, relationship based on trust, responses based on classical conditioning. I like to give them the opportunity to make good decisions or decisions i like. After all if we don’t give them that bit of trust and try it on occasions how will we ever know what they do in any given situation.
Take my old dog for example she would often know what i would like her to do and that was based on history of past events and practiced situations. Given an opportunity outside she would wander a small distance and after a period of time, if the door was left open she would get in the car. Having seen her with hundreds of people, dogs and kids i trusted or had an educated guess to what she would do in those situations. She could be left unattended (for short periods) in the garden with no problem.
But a big fat reminder to myself is that whose behaviours had been proofed over many years for that level of trust to occur.
So going back to my pup and why putting a lead on her has changed our relationship. It has changed it for the better and in so many more ways than i had anticipated.
Giving you an idea of what had been going on. I have an open garden which means i have a large area in which Moona can toilet and play but she is not contained there. There is a length of driveway before you hit the main road. Our Neighbours have full access to drive past our house and do so cautiously as they are also dog owners but their garden is contained. As my pup hits 4 months old she has (and rightfully so) become more curious and braver in some situations. The other day after momentary distraction on my part she had made her way, a lot nearer to main road than ever before and to top it off, in my panic. She did not recall but tempted a game of keep away. Lucky for me i have ways of coning my dog to come to me at that stage but it is not ideal.
I will add if you continue to con your dog when will they ever trust what you say? (that’s when “what’s this” stops working)
So right said the trainer in me i need to train this out, rebuild that recall. Train it in the environment, create a pattern of movement away from the area i do not want her to be in. Which will all work but it takes time.
Today is the warmest day for a bit and all my dog wants to do it be outside, i can’t be out there all the time managing her, i have stuff to do. Plus and a major factor was that she in generally getting increasingly naughty in the garden. Picking up things she wasn’t meant to have, and play keep away (mostly to my partner who she loves winding up). She was increasingly hard to manage, you had to on it all the time.
So my solution today as we are in-between collars and harnesses as she has grown out of everything suddenly. I fished out the K9 harness i use for the little dogs safety in the van and connect her to a 10 metre long line and tied that to a bench outside.
The change has been unreal!!
Since i have control and managed the situation with zero training and purely secured her. I have mowed the lawn and sat outside for the past 2 hours.
What has she done? She has laid about watching me, watched the neighbours (without interfering), she has sunbathed. Snoozed outside which she has never been so relaxed to do this. I have easily managed her while a delivery driver went next door (usually a problem as since lock
down she got more nervous with people).
She is relaxed, we have had some great cuddles, and she has started (for the first time) to understand her boundaries. In turn my partner and i are so much more relaxed the door has been open to house without a problem.
Moral of the story –
Don’t let dogs practice bad behaviour!
Putting myself in better control has strengthen our relationship because i am less worried while she is outside. Also not picking up anything.
Moona love being outside the whole time.
The leading up has improved her quality of life at this point!
Extra Bonus – Calmer puppy in general.
Unforeseen bonus is she has now practiced being tethered when she is with us on our camping trips.