Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tess goes hiking

Took Tess up to Feather Falls where we did the ~9 mile, 4 hour hike (plus an hour for lunch).  Tess did really well not pulling, paying attention to me, and practiced "relaxing" during lunch. 

While navigating trail obstacles (fallen trees from previous day's wind storm) I was able to use "over" and "under" to navigate us both through without tangling the leash.  We played in one of the creeks some and confirmed that Tess is NOT a fan of cold water.  She goes all pitiful and sad-eyed. 

We played almost constant RZ zone games (both sides) and a name game.  Only if she didn't respond to my RZ request did I do 180 degree turns to eliminate pulling.  Having her on leash for lunch reminded me that I need to spend more time with her out of her kennel, on leash, just hanging out with me.  If I'm being perfectly honest, my perfect puppy is a perfect pain and it's so much easier to just stick her in her kennel if I'm not actively engaging her, than to practice her being "chill" while I do something else. 

Overall it was a beautiful trip that I actually ENJOYED because I FINALLY have a puppy who's a joy to be with.

My sister made fun of me when she found out the dogs were coming.  "All we are going to hear is 'Yes Tess', 'No Tess', 'Heel Tess'".  I laughed and told her that actually she should hear nothing.  The strategy behind the training now is to stay silent - no verbal commands until she understands the behavior.  She makes good choices and is rewarded (including staying in that heel position in the reinforcement zone - RZ - and not pulling) and when she consistently chooses the correct behavior, THEN I'll name it.

It's unfortunate that in the action photos she looks like she is pulling.  She pulled very little!