October 30, 2018 Laura Tibert, puppy mom
Sommer is ten months old, and he is in full adolescence, that is, months. Joke on me, because now I have a real teenager in the house, plus a doggy one. Sommer becomes a free and independent thinker, just like her 15-year-old human brother. She takes turns enthusiastic and stubborn. In one minute, she rushes through the house with a case of “zooms,” as we call it, and the next she is afraid and capricious. She becomes more intelligent in her attempts to hack the system, does this mean that she is trying to sneak up on our bed at night (she is installed on her dog bed in our bedroom, but this does not seem close enough to her taste) or stupidly stare at me when I call “Come!” and then turning her back towards me and quietly running in the opposite direction. On the other hand, she is bright and happy and loves to learn new games. We are currently working on an "extraction" because, although she has some kind of Labrador retriever and some kind of golden retriever, the very idea of taking the ball and returning it to me so that I can again throw it seems alien to her. Chasing the ball? Well, in this it is natural. And she is fast. Which brings me to the question of the need to get her abundant exercise when walking.
At ten months, Sommer is no longer a little puppy. She is almost adult, and began to fill up her muscle tone. Even now, she weighs only 17 pounds. We thought she could reach 25 pounds, but it turns out that she takes after her 15-pound mom more than her 35-pound dad. It's good for me! But this poses some interesting problems associated with aggressiveness, as she well knows that she is smaller than most of the dogs she faces. And the time when we notice this most of all happens when we go for a walk, which seems to alternate between happy sniffing and terrible high barking, when the other dog throws us from its yard, barking as if it wants to kill us both ( although I see his tail wagging!).
In other words, walking with Sommer is great fifty percent of the time. The remaining fifty percent can use improvements.
The problem number one is that, being a puppy, Sommer has no idea how to regulate her walking. Then she twitches and twitches when she runs off to sniff something especially painful in the grass, and the next thing you know, she walked around my legs, and now I'm standing there still, like a potted plant thrown into the street. Fortunately, being a small dog, she is not strong enough to pull my shoulder out of the nest, and for that I am grateful to her. However, her worst habit of walking on a leash randomly and without warning crosses me, forcing me to try to stop, usually on tiptoes, stretching my arms outward, as if to break an impending fall. And no matter how bad this habit is, the worst walking incident that we have had so far has had nothing to do with Sommer and everything related to our winters in Minnesota. Last winter, I stumbled upon a patch of black ice that was disguised as a fresh layer of fluffy snow, and, like in a cartoon, my legs flew out from under me, and I fell on my back. Now, the blessing of this was twofold: first, nobody was there to see my humiliating glide; and secondly, I was wearing a massive down coat, including a hat and a giant puffy hood, which softened the fall. But the gist of the story is that Sommer thought it was fun. Sommer slowly come to the aid of dog care, jumping all over my prone body, thinking that this is a game. So in any case, if I can fall while walking, when Sommer behaves on a leash, imagine what could happen if she gets cut in front of me on one of those snowy days.
I decided to consult with Google to get expert advice on my dog walking problems. From leading trainers, I realized that training on a leash is a pain, but it is worth it in the long run and is part of the training, which has a significant safety component – both for you and for your puppy. I learned that I should be the first outside the door, emphasizing that I am the leader, and that I should be the same. Another expert advised you to teach your puppy to sit patiently while you take off your shoes and hang them on a leash. It sounded very similar to what Mr. Rogers would have done, and I immediately implemented it. Good food or food at the end of the walk was another recommendation to emphasize to Sommer that she worked for her food. Experts recommended the morning as an ideal time for walking, from 30 minutes to one hour. That's where it's nice to have a little dog: thirty minutes is enough for her.