Day: 5

Session: 1

Confine dog (double amount of training time): training after a night of sleep

Two 30 min or one 60 session: 30 minute session

Location #2, pattern: nearby park, baseball diamond, square pattern

Leash Length: 2′

Distractions: people

Soak time: 5 minutes

Sit on the dog: none

We were back at our second training location this morning, down to a 2′ leash.  I think my theory was proven this morning; Bradley works better with structure.  What I mean is that at 15′ he was SO free that it seemed there were no rules except to keep within a 15′ radius.  At 5′, he seemed to understand that the pattern walking was a task.  And at 2′ he definitely understood what he was supposed to do.  In my own form of logic, it makes sense because he is mostly on a 2 to 3′ leash on our regular walks (basically we fold the last two or three feet of a six foot leash when we walk him.

Bradley’s most improved area has to be the starting and stopping.  He absolutely catches himself when I stop and start.  In fact, this morning, he started to sit on his own when I stopped.  And, as a side note, he sat and shook a paw this morning when I bent down to put his training collar on (I’m not sure if he was just being polite or begging me to change my mind about putting it on).  Either way it was very cute.

I can tell that he sometimes gets lost in the walk about halfway between the start and stop points.  He is still walking nicely beside me, but he literally looks like he’s daydreaming.  His head is sort of off looking left, and he catches himself getting onto a diagonal path.  Those are the times I find myself doing a drop and run.  I’m wondering if his daydreaming is good because he’s not focused on a distraction, or bad because he’s not focused on me?

We were outside a few minutes later than usual this morning, mostly so that I could try and catch some distractions,and that worked.  The odd person walked through the park and Bradley would stop walking, like he usually does when he sees someone, and sat hoping that the person would come and pay him some attention.  Luckily at that time of the morning people are in a hurry to get where they’re going, so the distraction was fair.  I would run a few steps forward, and he would catch up with me, excited and smiling as if we’ve just played some fabulous game.

I think I am seeing the progress come together for him.  Because Bradley is such a happy dog (I know most dogs are happy, but he always looks like he’s having the best moment of his life), it’s hard to tell if he’s taking the training seriously or he just thinks it’s a game for half an hour.  Having said that, his body language and reactions to us are changing so underneath those goofy smiles he must be learning and thinking.

Unfortunately Bradley had to get to doggy daycare this morning and I had to get to work, so once again sit on the dog has to wait.

I can’t help thinking, after re-reading my words here, how lucky we are to have this dog that reminds me everyday how happy he is.  Not many things in life provide us that sort of gratification and confidence.