Barley must be behaving exceptionally well on our walks lately. Earlier this week, we were out walking and did our usual intersection routine of sitting and then looking both ways before crossing. There was a man doing some yard work and his dog--without any sort of restraint--was relaxing nearby. When I noticed it, I was a little worried. The dog has approached Barley before when the man wasn't out with him, so I got Barley's attention quickly and we practiced watch--with lots of snacks--while we crossed the street.
The man had moved closer to his dog and was crouched down beside the dog when he said, "I wish my dog would behave like that. Is it hard to train them?"
|Barley says, "You can't train this kind of awesomeness."|
Did it take a lot of work to get Barley to walk beautifully on a leash? Not really. She's never been much of a puller, so getting her to heel beside me has only been an issue when other dogs are around. Once I learned how to get her attention with commands like "watch" and "what's that?," getting her to heel beside me and ignore other dogs wasn't all that hard.
Was it hard to train her to stop and sit at intersections? Nope. Every time we go out for a walk, I stop at an intersection. At first, I told her to sit. Then we'd walk across and she'd get a treat. Eventually, she caught on and now I don't have to say anything. I start slowing down until we get to the intersection. I stop. She stops and sits. Easy as pie.
|I can sit nicely in the yard, too.|
Honestly, Barley's kind of a trainer's dream once you get past the reactivity. She loves to learn. Going to school is one of her favorite things, whether it's for agility, noseworks, obedience, tricks and games, or whatever else she gets signed up for. When we first started private lessons for her reactivity, our trainer gave us homework, told us it would probably take us 2 weeks to get through it all, and scheduled our next lesson for that time frame. After four days of 3 ten-minute training sessions per day, I was calling her to see what else we could work on because Barley had it down pat--even outside with distractions like construction, squirrels, and bees. I'm not sure our trainer believed me, but she moved our next session up and was amazed by how far Barley had come. Even though Barley's a stubborn little cuss, she's smart and once she knows what I'm asking of her, she'll do it (as long as she's in the mood).
Really, one of the hardest things we've encountered in training is getting her to go into the cave bed I splurged and bought for her! She still won't go in it unless I hold it wide open and tell her to go in. (But sometimes she does get out of my bed in the middle of the night and lay on the tiny part in front of the opening.)
|How long do I have to stay in here?|
|I can't help it that I don't want to be in my cave bed. It's nicer up here.|
He nodded, said thanks, and Barley and I went on our way.
What about you? Do you think it's hard to train a dog?
We're linking up with Heart Like a Dog and 2 Brown Dawgs for Thursday's Barks and Bytes. Stayed tuned tomorrow for our FitDog Friday post on our adventures on the ledge!