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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Training Begins...Or Continues

I remember when we first brought Bunny home two years ago.  In some ways, that feels so long ago, and in others, it feels like just yesterday.  In most ways, she moved into our lives seamlessly.  It was as if she'd been here with us forever. 

However, there was one area where she was really difficult, and I've talked about it here on the blog before.  She had never been on the end of a leash, as far as we could tell.  Walking a trout on a line down the street would have been easier, and possibly less amusing for my neighbors.  It wasn't her fault, she just didn't have the experience.  I'll confess that we didn't walk much that summer.  Every time we did, it was a struggle.  I saw Blueberry walking perfectly with Mr. Taleteller and it reminded me about how easy and fun Treat had been to walk, not to mention how hard it was, and it just depressed me.

That Fall, I decided that something had to be done.  I wanted to return to nursing home visits, as well as take her to all kinds of other fun events.  We entered obedience class.  That whole experience was great for us, and Bunny tied for top honors on graduation night, which is a story in itself that I can't remember if I've told on the blog or not.  She did so much better in obedience than I'd hoped for, and afterwards, although we still mostly use the harness, she was a much better walking companion.

Now we have added Morgan to the mix.  She isnt terrible on the leash by any means, but she pulls like a frieght train.  I have avoided taking her anywhere by myself thus far because I'm not sure I can hold her back, and I really don't fancy the idea of me being in the local papers or on the news as the woman who was dragged along in the first-ever German Shepherd rodeo. 

Of course, this problem is easily remedied if you're willing to do the work required to teach your dog how to walk with leash manners.  Morgan's education began Tuesday night.  As we headed out for our evening walk, a training collar was slipped over her head and Mr. Taleteller took along his bait bag full of treats.  Bunny and I walked on ahead.  Blueberry was busy with a bone and decided not to join us and Lilac was napping, no doubt getting ready for her early wake up call.  After we got down to almost the end of our street, Mr. Taleteller called out and asked us to wait.  Bunny and I stood patiently waiting while he reminded Morgan about where she was supposed to be walking and to have good manners.  When they caught up to us, he switched back to her other collar and we walked at ease for a while. 

Occasionally, when Morgan was walking well in the place where Mr. Taleteller wanted her, he would give her a small treat.  Bunny is no stranger to the bait bag.  She knows exactly what that means.  Soon, she was showing Morgan exactly what you have to do to get treats.  She pranced along in perfect heel position, sat on command, and just generally exhibited model behavior.  She had Mr. Taleteller treating her at every turn, and she was quite proud of herself.  She batted her eyelashes at him and treats fell right into her mouth. 

I have a feeling that Morgan's going to learn how to walk with manners very quickly!

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30 comments:

  1. I think Morgan prefers to drive... :)

    Licks, hero

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  2. ...was that a German Shepherd??? ye know, i've always wanted to have a German Shepherd.... but i think it's so costly.... anyhow... loved the visit!!!:D

    Blessings!!!:)

    >Kelvin

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  3. I think Morgan will learn real fast and not even just for the treats. If you put in the effort that you do with GSD's they are like genius dogs or something and live to be trained, unless they feel like they need to be in charge. And that usually only happens when they don't have the kind of experienced pack leadership that you already provide for your pack. On the other paw, pulling like a freight train is what I do myself, so I completely see Morgan's point. I'm told that if I go back to school I'll have to stop that in order to get my degree. I'm thinking about it....

    wags, Lola

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  4. Morgan sounds like a quick study. Mom needs to work with Piper a lot as he "pulls like a freight train" too and gets the rest of us excited. And in the winter time with ice, sometimes we frighten her a bit!! We're fairly strong for our small stature.

    XOXO
    Lilly, Piper, Carrleigh and Ruairi

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  5. Nothing like a bit of healthy competition. Morgan will soon get the hang of thing under Bunny's watchfall eye.
    love and kisses
    Martha and Bailey xxx

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  6. Morgan will get the hang of it very quickly I have no doubt!

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  7. I have known a few german shepherds in my day and they are SMART! I am sure Morgan will catch on fast!

    Your pal, Pip

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  8. It's amazing how a judicious use of treats can bring a dogs education along so quickly. It took us eight years to learn that simple fact - saves so much time and effort.

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  9. I agree that Morgan will learn quickly. Good role model(s) and training treats will do the job. However, I must admit that I would have liked to see a video of the "rodeo". hehehe

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  10. Sounds like Morgan is figuring out how to work the treat machine.

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  11. After walking our own dogs for so long, it's hard to remember everything we had to do just to improve leash walking. Right now we have a foster dog that is pulling on the leash; I guess we're in for some additional training as well.

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  12. Sounds like Bunny has this mentoring thing all figured out! BOL!

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  13. Maybe you should just get some skates! That would be FUN!

    Um, I still have a problem with that whole pulling thing. Well, mom thinks it's a problem but I don't get what she's talking about. I feel like Lola does - if mom would just pick up the pace, we wouldn't even be having this discussion. I do walks like a champ in obedience class and rally. It's just in the wide world where all the exciting stuff is that I wanna get where we're going faster than mom wants us to.

    Anyways - good luck training your humans to walk faster, Madison!

    Wiggles & Wags,
    Mayzie

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  14. Uh, why walk when you can drives wheres you need to go. Oh mum won't let me drive....ONLY cuz my feetsies don't reach da peddals. Oh gosh, wouldn't you just loves to see me driving on da sidewalk er, I mean road.
    Okays, anyway Morgan you just keeps up da good work...you doing just fine. Just don't go nears any bodies of water wheres anybuddy could be pulled in...hehehehe.
    Puddles

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  15. Awesome, it really is amazing how much they learn from each other.

    Woos - Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

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  16. It really does seem they learn quicker and faster from each other!

    Woofs and Kisses!
    The Fiesty Three

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  17. I bet Morgan has you trained in no time! I mean... you have her--- no, wait... I said it right the first time. ;)

    Wags,
    Zona

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  18. Dear Bunny,
    Thanks so much. we are glad you like our pictures.
    Good job there with Morgan. she sounds like a vey intellgent girl and knows how to wean out treats too..!
    About backseat driving, we try not to do that as far as possible and that is because we try everyday to convince mummy about letting us drive, just like morgan in the pic. but she says we are still underage.
    about the books, well...we secrectly think mummy was saving the pics for this post!
    wags, bud n gin

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  19. Woof! Woof! Morgan will learn fast n will be great. Golden Thanks for supporting me to be June Top UDog. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

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  20. Ahhhh it just took me 20 minutes but I am all caught up on your adventures!! Congrats and welcome Morgan! I can't wait to hear and see of all the greatness that will come from having her in the family!

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  21. I know Bunny will teach Morgan everything she needs to know!
    Good job!
    Kisses and hugs
    Lorenza

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  22. Hey Morgan!

    Are woo REALLY a Siberian?

    Hugz&Khysses,
    Khyra

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  23. I tend to take walks on trails off-leash, but it's always good to know your leash manners. Go Bunny! I'm sure Morgan appreciates your example.

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  24. There certainly learn quick with positive reinforcements like food! Sounds like Morgan will have perfect leash manners very quickly!

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  25. Hi
    Bunny bunny bo bunny shamma nana morgan bananas! Wow...excellent team work. Umm mom knows a bit about this leash pulling. along with treats, mom simple stops and waits until I retreat to her side and we continue. It really tries her patience. I think Morgan will be a super leash walker. Sounds like I could use your zen bunny master to model for me.
    norwood

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  26. Don't knock training a dog who watches you train another! That's exactly how Juno got to be such a highly trained Siberian! Jealousy gets the better of her and when she sees me work Loki, and its her turn, she knows exactly what to do! Nice thing about GSD's is that they're super smart and "easy" to train!

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  27. This is awesome...Jacob has learned a lot from Dory, so we soo get it!!

    Smileys & Snuggles!
    Dory, Jacob and Bilbo

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  28. Good work, Bunny and Morgan, you'll get your parents trained in no time!

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  29. i hope miss bunny left some treatsies for miss morgan! i used to pull tons 'n tons, but now i'm much better after practice with little smokeys, so i just know miss morgan will be a most wonderful walker in no time. :)
    *woof*
    the booker man

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  30. Well, it isn't easy. PeeWee knows when he has his training collar on and is a super suck up good dog. But switch to his sports bra and he is insane cracker dog. I, for one, am keen to observe when momma is loaded with nommy foodables. Food? Good dog. No food? Bad dog. Hehehe.

    Slobbers,
    Mango

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