Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Leash Leaning

We have crossed L2 Sit off our list.
We worked through all the target stuff really quickly up to touch a sticky note on a wall. Now I just need to teach her to close a cabinet door. Our metal object was the end of a whisk, I wanted to challenge her...whatever, she loved it, she even jumped up to touch it in the air.

Her LL is going really well and we are doing alot of work making the "walk past a treat" better than it's written. Last night she walked over the top of a chicken bone on the sidewalk (yuck!) without looking at it. She saw it before I did and snatched it up, I had her "out" and "leave it" and then we walked past it once and over it once and she didn't even look at it. Something I have been trying to avoid in our Zen work is that tendency to steer WAY away from something. I would like for her to feel confident enough to walk right next to it without touching or looking at it, so she doesn't start to worry about the thing that I asked her to leave. So far so good. If I tell her "leave it" she will back away from "it", but if I then ask her to walk over or right by "it" she does so cheerfully and confidently. LOVE IT!

One thing I have to say about her LL is that her LL is not so lazy. She is what I call a "leash leaner". She doesn't "pull" really she just sort of keeps a slight pressure on the leash all the way up to a moderate lean at the end of the leash. Through our L2 LL the percentage of time she leans is going down and the amount of time and distance she has a U shaped leash is increasing, but I think the biggest hurdle is that I don't really care. If I can hold the leash in my hand and stuff my hand in my jacket pocket and remain there comfortably I'm pretty happy, even if that means there is some pressure on the leash. If she puts a little too much pressure I can clear my throat as if to say "excuse me I'm still here" and she'll correct her position.

In most situations she doesn't use leash leaning to actually get anywhere, she just keeps that slight pressure on it so she doesn't have to think about where I am, she knows because she can feel it. She is still walking with me, she matches my pace, goes the same direction, stops when I stop, she's just lazy (or efficient) and has decided that paying attention to the leash pressure is way easier that paying attention to exactly how far away she is from me.

There are some areas, like the stretch of road leading up the field we play in, where she gets a little overboard so I have started addressing those specific sections and I'm seeing marked improvement. That stretch of road has gone from infuriating, to frustrating, to mildly annoying, so it's just a matter of time before we get it all the way down to enjoyable.

Because she has arousal(excitability/reactivity) issues I am working more diligently on improving her LL because anytime I can improve self control in one place will help with self control across the board, but in general I am very happy with her leash manners on our daily walks.

Her behavior overall is improving immensely. We had some guys at the house the last couple of days putting a fence up and she has been totally cool about them being there, she's not even interested in playing LAT, she'd rather take a nap if that's okay...fine by me!

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