Dogarazzi: Week 5
Today marks a whole month since we brought Ted home! I can’t believe it’s only been that long. Not that having Ted has been an ordeal, but it’s certainly been a learning experience.
This past weekend, we instituted a new regime of puppy training. That is, we have seen the light that is Cesar Millan, also known as the Dog Whisperer. As part of our dog owner education, JG picked up several dog training books and one of them was Cesar’s Way. He approached the whole behaviorism idea skeptically, wrinkling his nose at mentions of positive energy and asserting oneself as the pack leader. However, before he reached the end of the book, JG began to preach the gospel of Cesar and we started Ted on the path to enlightenment, or daily walks, whichever came first.
See, when JG or I would take Ted out for a walk, Ted would strain against his leash, whining pitifully. JG warned me not to drag him; I was supposed to put tension on the leash and he would ultimately give up. Well, apparently, Ted didn’t get that memo because he never gave up. We couldn’t even get him out of the driveway. The curious thing was that Ted would only come with us if both JG and I came on the walk. I guess it was sort of sweet that he wanted us all to be together or something, but it was highly inconvenient for our schedules. If JG and I were going to be any sort of alpha dogs in our house, it was time to break that habit, but we didn’t know how to get around Ted’s reticence.
Enter the Dog Whisperer. JG saw an episode about dogs that had trouble taking walks and – lo and behold – Cesar dragged them until they figured out that it was easier to walk quietly along with him. It was a revelation. Over the weekend, we went for three walks a day, separately, tugging Ted along and keeping up a brisk pace. “It’s all business,” I murmured to myself, “No coddling. He has to learn his place in the pack.” Oh, it was hard. I worried about how my neighbors would view me as I pulled along our adorable white puppy despite the fact that he clearly strained against me. JG told me to just smile and call out, “We’re still training him!” as I dragged Ted out of sight as quickly as possible. Needless to say, I was not so much reassured by the escape plan.
Eventually, much to my relief, Ted caught on. He still hops and bites a little, but as soon as I tug at the leash and start up my quick walking pace, he jumps on for the ride. Ted has come so far that he withstood our recent run of wet weather, which provided us with plenty of pathetic wet-puppy faces and a couple of funny towel-drying episodes that were cute but made for blurry pictures. As if taking walks weren’t enough, Ted has even learned to sit for his treats. Amazing! I’m really impressed with what has transpired over the past month, mostly because I’ve managed to avoid being an enormous obstacle to his progress.
Where’s my treat?