Wednesday, May 12, 2010

First walk -- seriously...

Okay, I know this is really, really pathetic -- But last night was Secret's very first on-leash walk around our neighborhood.

I have not flaunted the fact that I have three dogs. Actually, I've more or less tried to hide it as much as I can because of my neighbors. I'm sure it is no secret (tee hee) to any of them that I now have three dogs, but I still don't feel the need to parade around with all three of them by my side.

Obviously Secret goes on walks almost seven days a week (five for certain!), but they are largely entirely off-leash and she can go where she pleases. In general, the only time she is on leash is when we go to the vet and to agility trials. I have done pretty much zero leash training with her to date.

Considering these facts, she did EXCEPTIONALLY well on her walk last night! I took her out by herself, having first taken the boys on their own walk. She started out a bit uncertain of her surroundings, but I made a point to frequently reward and praise her as we walked and her confidence increased as we went along.

There were a handful of moments where she zig-zagged around, veered off to the side, stopped to smell something or tried to barge ahead, but largely I was impressed with her decision to remain at my side with a loose leash. Her natural gait seems to match well with my walking pace, which is always a plus.

We encountered a fair amount of traffic and Secret did not seem bothered by that in the least. Even the busy street we crossed did not scare her. We walked all the way down to the intersection by a couple of fast food places and a gas station and only then did the hustle & bustle seem to get to her. It was at that point (our turn-around) where I decided to ask her to sit, and it took a couple of tries for me to get her attention. I asked a few more times as we got further away from the busy area and she was much better.

By far the most "exciting" part of our walk was when we had to pass next to a chain fence with a barking/running dog on the other side. Secret had her hackles up from head to tail and was incredibly unsure of what she should do, but I pumped her with treats as we passed the property and she made it without any negative reactions.

During the last portion of our 45-minute walk she didn't try to pull or wander at all and stayed nicely by my side. It amazes me how good her leash manners are for a dog who's never had any work on such a thing.

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