Saturday, March 1, 2008

I Am Walter's Father: Day 4 - Why Training is Harder

This post is satirical in nature, and should not be taken literally at all.*

The first day of March. I walk, just past somnambulant, with Hannah's leash in hand.

"Dog training could be the end of us, you know," Kath said, being dragged by Walter. Her tone evokes the feeling I get in my belly when a glass shatters between my bare feet: movement of any kind is likely to result in pain, mess, and quite possibly a limp. A gland somewhere deep in my white-matter squeezes. I'm no more awake, but suddenly, terribly, terribly, alert.

Gingerly, I attempt to place a toe on a bit of floor with no splinters of laceration. I say nothing, carefully.

"If we had children our parenting styles would be very different."

Toe bleeding. Pull back and try new tactic. Perhaps I can leap over the danger...?

"You think that it is a natural right for a dog to run free," I said. "I think that running free is a reward a dog gets for good behaviour."

*CRASH*

Why is it, no matter where you are, as soon as there is a chase scene two guys in overalls appear carrying a huge sheet of glass?

 

The difficult circular reality is that we never have the kind of walk we enjoy if we have that kind of walk now. Training walks have to be tightly controlled, to establish focus and concentration for all parties. Once we have them attending to us - that is, the dogs paying attention to the humans - we can change the parameters of the control, give them much more freedom, and be much more relaxed on our walks.

 

Special thanks to the father of Dawson and and Grace. We met this gentleman at the corner by Pet Value, with his Golden Retrievers. We stopped to say hello, and to let Walter and Hannah say hello. He talked about how much his dogs enjoyed their training, and that the consistent repetition paid off for many years. By the time we parted ways, Kath was feeling much better about being trained in a training program with our dogs.

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*...Unless you were there to hear the dialogue, in which case it's completely true in all respects.

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