Decided to try the old umbilical cord strategy for getting my puppy to walk on a loose (ha) leash. This method, according to puppy school is supposed to "be great for leadership and bonding." I bought the six foot leash, I fixed one end around my waist, fastened the other end to Scout's collar, stuffed a baggie full of miniscule pieces of weiner into my pocket and headed out for our daily 5km walk. It was a beautiful evening, above zero degrees, a January rarity, and both Scout and I were eager to take in some fresh air!
We had only gone 20 feet when we saw a teenager coming towards us. I prepared to brace myself as I saw a delight in his eyes that had only one meaning. He was going to use his "high voice" get down on his knees and greet my puppy, the one tied around my waist, with the exuberance of a true animal lover! The energy of the wiggling body at the end of the leash matched that of the boy's eyes and I knew this was gonna be ugly for me. It was. The closer the boy got, the lower his body got and the higher his voice got. Scout reacted to all of this body language by lunging towards the boy dragging my entire body with her. Before I could stop her, she had jumped all over the boy who seemed to be enjoying her affection. The 2 of them snuggled and wiggled oblivious to my desperate attempts to yank Scout down. My efforts to avoid disaster were ignored by both boy and dog and within minutes Scout had torn his ipod earphones out of his ears and following them into the snowbank was the ipod. We quickly continued on our way. When Scout walked nicely beside me, creating slack in the leash, I rewarded her with bits of weiner, when she pulled relentlessly, I made sharp turns, pulling her in opposing directions. This "redirecting" method, by the way, DID NOT WORK! It only added length to my walk and frustration to my reperatoire of irritated emotions. Everytime we met another dog or human, Scout would lunge forward forcing my pelvis to lurch forward as well, making me look really awkward and horny! The 1.5km first half of the walk was mildly productive. Scout would occasionally walk beside me for more than 30 seconds at a time before forgetting she was attached to me. I dont' know how many times she attempted to jump into the snowbanks on the side of the road, only to discover she couldn't quite pull me with her, though she could pull me off balance. She could also make me stop in my tracks and make my back twist awkwardly in one direction when she stopped to sniff without me knowing it. The 1.5km walk back home was plagued by heightened frequency of all the same annoying behaviours! The walk was anything but pleasant, and by the time I got home I was NOT speaking to Scout. I made her sit, opened the door, walked through, called her into the entry way, unhooked the leash and sent her up the stairs. I needed to "cool down." Though the entire 3 miles (5km) was hell, I refuse to give up. I know I need to be patient, consistent and presistent. I want Scout to learn to walk on the leash, I want to love taking her for walks, I want to love her company. I can't always make it to the off leash park in the daylight, so this onleash stuff is necessary. I will persevere!