Walking, Heeling, Sitting…Oh My!

After last week, I was feeling a little defeated and frustrated in my dog training attempts. So, I spent a little time researching effective dog training techniques. Cesar Millan comes highly recommended by friends, family, and Google. I spent hours pouring over articles on various dog training tips and philosophies. Here are a few of my favorites:

Leave it!: an important command for all dogs to learn.

Crate Expectations: how to effectively crate train a dog.

Excerpt from the book “How to Raise the Perfect Dog through Puppyhood and Beyond”: covering why dogs jump up on people and how to control the jumping.

The general philosophy of all the articles is to be consistent, remain calm, and maintain control. I’ve been working on “training” Ian to be less assertive with Ava and more calm and relaxed. Sometimes it’s hard to stay calm when Ava gets out-of-control or jumps on people, but I’ve realized that even though I’m training her, I’m having to learn, too. We’re both a work in progress.

One of the biggest things I learned is that I was spending too much time working on training. I shortened my training to 20 minutes stretches once or twice a day. On walks, we practice heeling and I have her sit or focus on me (with treat in hand) when another walker or runner goes by in an attempt to keep her from jumping. It’s getting better little by little.

I took Ava on a 4-mile walk with me and she did really well up until the very end. I think the walk may have been too long. Near the end, she started jumping and spinning uncontrollably. I had her sit and tried to calm her down, but she was just done walking and done listening. We’ll have to keep walks to about 2 miles for now and work up to the longer walks.

I’ve also been nervous about Ava breaking her leash. A few weeks ago, she chewed the buckled off of her harness (a specific act of defiance after Ian tried to take her disco golfing. She hated it, and in return, chewed up her harness). Luckily, we were able to fasten the harness together using a carabiner. How very Colorado! Recently, one of the maintenance workers at our complex stopped by to fix a broken toilet. I put Ava on her leash to keep her from jumping and bothering the poor guy while he worked. I wasn’t watching her, and she nearly chewed through her leash. As of right now, duct tape is holding the leash together. I’m worried that she’ll pull too hard one day and the leash will break. We’re definitely in the market for a new leash. Hopefully we’ll be able to get one soon!

Two weeks in, Ava and I still have a ways to go. But she’s definitely picking up on some of the training! Walks are getting easier, her listening is improving, and she is starting to calm down a little. Baby steps! One of the articles I read said a 6-8 month-old puppy is like a two-year-old human; so, we’ve entered the terrible twos! That explains the stubbornness…I can almost hear her saying, “NO!” Patience has definitely become my most valued virtue.


2 thoughts on “Walking, Heeling, Sitting…Oh My!

  1. The first step to having a well trained dog is being willing to put in the work, and you most definitely are! Glad you looked into Cesar:) We used a halti while training Charlie to walk properly and it works wonders. It’s not a mussel it’s a lead like you would use for a horse. I can’t say enough good things about this thing!


    After about 6-8 months we didn’t have to use it anymore we just transitioned to a prong collar. Might be worth a try.

    Wishing you continued success!

  2. It’s definitely worth working with Ava while she’s young! Old habits are hard to break. I’ll let you know what our trainer says. Keep up the good work! (Can’t wait to meet Ava!)

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