Maybe I still like Spider, though

Aug 25, 2017 | Serra's Story

With all the recent discussions of ears and housetraining, Spidey and I have done a really good job of not liking each other (yes, this is how raising a puppy goes. Yesterday I loved him and today I hate him). He’s completely lost the idea of coming to me when I indicate I’d like him to – or when I’m very obvious about it with calling and waving and whistling and stamping and waving treats around.

I believe I have finally got the ears under control with the right combination of racehorse leg wraps, backer rod, colostomy glue and Elastoplast. The posts are still in, the wraps don’t look like he got beaten up under the bleachers (because he obviously hasn’t been rolling in the dirt), and he’s not shaking his head constantly. That’s a huge weight off.

So this afternoon we went to the park again. He met lots of people and loved them all up. Friend Barb and I will start a once-a-week working session next week so I can start teaching him how to meet people without totally overwhelming them. He looks pretty cute when he’s way over THERE, but when he’s right HERE biting their arms, other words come to mind. Also screaming and rapidly backing up.

He wore the front-snap harness I got him the other day, which is much better than work with a collar – more subtle and gives him more leeway to turn back on his own. It’ll interfere with his front movement if he wears it forever, but I don’t expect him to need it more than a couple of months.

He seems to have forgotten his fascination with goose poop, he mostly ignored the ground, but he did stop at a huge display of purple petunias. He spent several minutes sniffing them. He looked like Ferdinand the Bull sitting in the flowerbed in the park smelling the flowers.

After we’d used up all the people, children, and petunias, we worked on eye contact, hand Zen, target hand, sit, and down. I got enough sits offered to start using a voice cue.

Together, he and I have worked out a new way of explaining loose leash walking. If I click just as the idea of galloping out to tighten the leash occurs to him, it aborts the idea and makes him turn back to me for a treat. I was using this the other day but didn’t think about it. Pretty soon I could see the idea of jumping forward pass between his ears and get cut off by the idea of a treat. If I keep working on this, the more enticing the distraction is, the harder and faster he should turn to me. Tomorrow I’ll find some of the many geese in the park and see how far we have to be from them for him to be able to handle them as a distraction.

And as I’m writing this, he’s wandered over to say hello and get a scratch for the first time in a couple of days. We’re OK.

His favourite spot – livin’ on the edge, baby!