Frozen Toesen

Pardon my reach for a plural.

Want to know what a “It’s 28 degrees and I just worked on heeling for 20 minutes while babywearing outdoors” selfie looks like?

Of course you do.  You’re reading this, so you are either my mother or a spammer from some poverty stricken country who has always secretly wondered what a “It’s 28 degrees and I just worked on heeling for 20 minutes while babywearing outdoors” selfie looks like.

Well, here it is.

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SUPREMELY GLAMOROUS.

So there we go – the source of the Frozen Toesen of the tiny baby.

We went out in the backyard and did some off-leash shaping of the heel.  I couldn’t get a video because I’m not an octopus, and so I tried to find a good example on YouTube.  After several TERRIBLE videos of people yanking on or shocking dogs to teach them to heel off leash, I gave up.  But here’s a note:

YOU DON’T HAVE TO SHOCK OR YANK YOUR DOG TO TEACH IT TO HEEL OFF LEASH.

I’ll see if I can get a video later since obviously the world is in need of one.  Basically, I relied on shaping to teach Ranger to walk next to me when going straight or turning right and left.  We started with straight-line heeling, then added large circles, then some about turns and random direction changes.  I think Morgan Spector calls the random walking “doodling” if I recall correctly from his excellent book Clicker Training for Obedience. It teaches your dog to pay attention to what you are doing instead of learning a pattern or getting too bored with you walking straight.

Usually I integrate a lot of running and happy play releases into leash walking training, but with the baby wrapped up it was a little too awkward to do that and I didn’t want to fling her back and forth. So we relied mostly on treats for reinforcers this time.

I also had to work on my treat delivery and deliver a closed fist down until it (gently!) met Ranger’s face, then open my fingers and let him eat the treat out, since I couldn’t see him very well over the baby and when I tried delivering to where I THOUGHT his face was and it wasn’t, he lunged toward my hand and nipped a little.

Ranger actually did a super job with this and within 20 minutes he was walking at my left side, speeding up to circle to the right, and slowing down when I turned to the left. I have previously used cues and encouragements to help the dog do these, but with Ranger I want to try without them so I don’t have to wean him off as I feel like Lady relied on these a little too much even once her heel was really good.  So, tiny experiment there in making the dog work on that for himself instead of me telling him how to stay at my side when geometry makes it more difficult.

I did not like how the treat pouch was precariously attached to my side and it seemed really low, so I need to admit one defeat: I ordered a.. a…

I ordered a…

It’s…

A fanny pack.

I MEAN “HIP PACK”.  That sounds cooler.

Anyway I ordered it from Amazon and it’s on the way.

That’s it for today!

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