Thursday, 6 July 2017

A Happy Update: In Which Melon and Darcy Work Together

So you guys know that 8-month-old Darcy has a problem with walking on the lead*. Meaning, all he wants to do is rush over to anything and everything, be it animal (human, canine or avian), plant, rock or... plain air, as far as I can tell!

Your point?

And all I, Melon, want to do, is walk down the street without the pup running onto the road, leaping after birds or scrambling into the bush... is that too much to ask?

Hey, what's over there?

I was really beginning to think it was. So much that I suggested his humans buy some equipment to reduce his pulling (like a head halter -- not that I've ever seen a cavalier in one!).

But I also didn't want to let this defeat me. Call myself a dog trainer, and can't even teach a ~5kg puppy to walk on a lead? (Size doesn't directly affect trainability, but it does affect ability to hold onto a pulling dog!) So for the past fortnight or so I've tried to take Darcy for at least a ten to fifteen minute walk every time I visited. Why such a short walk? Because my patience for stopping and starting wears off after about ten minutes!

Seriously. Why are we stopping again?

But it turns out that patience in the form of a little each day has made a difference -- I think. I don't want to speak too soon, but I feel Darcy is finally showing some improvement in the skill of what we trainers call 'loose lead walking'. As in, he can sometimes walk down the road like a 'normal' dog...

Here's a tiny snippet of our walk today.

In the middle you see a glimpse of what our 'walks' have looked like for the past 6 months, but you can see that he can also walk much, much better too!

Walking near people, dogs or his sister are still out of the question, but hey, I'm just thrilled to see progress!

I'm proud of myself as well as this kid and can't wait to see where else we can go -- figuratively and literally!

* lead = Australian for leash, guys. Or "the string", as Darcy called it.


  1. Good job!

    I have read that it helps to get some of that energy out before the walk by whatever game the dog enjoys, though it's important not to overdo it either. With Blueberry who doesn't like games, I have to let her lead the way on the first part of our walk and then she is much easier to comply when I ask something of her.

    1. Thanks! I've spent specific time training lead walking with him, but I wasn't making much (any) progress. Turns out practice makes perfect - or acceptable, I guess! The game thing sounds like a good idea - yes, a lot of things are easier with a dog who loves games! I'm not sure with Darcy yet as I can't play with him without the other dog freaking out, which we are working on also.


Thoughts? I'd love to hear them!