A Sitty Lesson

 Cai attacks Fergus
“Learn to heel!” “Stop bein’ such a slowpoke!”  Photo by E.g.

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We pet owners tend to make a lot of jokes about our animals’ urinary and fecal elimination. This is because — if we are vigilant dog owners and tidy cat owners — we must rub our nose in it (so to speak) numerous times daily. Hence the title of this post, which is — gasp! — not about elimination. 

It’s above freezing and very grey today, so I decided not to chance going far afield, but simply walk the boys around the city blocks near home. The furchildren get muddy enough without being rained upon.

In an effort to get Fergus to heel, I’ve been halting whenever the leash goes taut; or at least, I like to think I have. It’s very hard (read: tedious) to stop consistently; and besides, does Fergus really understand why I’m stopping? Does he get the connection (as it were) between his pulling and my stopping?

This morning, about halfway along our circuit, I decided that the boys should learn to sit whenever I halt. That way, the leash would go slack before we continued walking.

And so Cai got a lesson based on Fergus’s double lesson. Every time Fergus pulled on his half of the double leash, I halted and said, “Sit.” And I made sure both boys sat. If Fergus was where he should be, with his head level with my left leg, and it was Cai lagging behind who made the leash go tight, I ignored it. Conversely, if Fergus was right out in front, even if the tension on the leash wasn’t so bad, I might halt as well. When we crossed streets I would tug him back instead of stopping; safety before manners.

Now, picture the length of a typical slab of city sidewalk. What would it be, about six or eight feet? That’s how far we would get before Fergus would be pulling. Every time he pulled, we stopped and the boys sat.

For nine blocks.

It was a very sitty walk.

12 Responses to A Sitty Lesson

  1. almostgotit says:

    LOL! A sitty-sounding walk, indeed. My dog is very poorly trained, but part of the problem is that what I teach him, other family members (who shall not be named) tend to UNteach. (Excuses, excuses.) What we really need is more sitty walks…

  2. lavenderbay says:

    Wow, Almostgotit, I can barely hang on to Fergus, let alone a Rhodesian Fridgesnack! Next time, we might just get Toy Poodles… But yeah, having everyone in the family doing the same thing might help. During the last (and final) visit with our dog boarder/trainer, he suggested more than once that E.g. and I each use the same techniques with our boys.

  3. I’ve done the same sort of thing with a horse that wouldn’t just walk. Every time it started to jig, we would stop and start at a walk again. Incredibly tedious. The animal never seems to give up before you do! But, I didn’t try making the horse sit.

  4. lavenderbay says:

    Rofl! I was gonna say, “If the method works for a horse, it should work for a Corgi” until I read your final line.

  5. goodbear says:

    great photo and great caption!

  6. Seabrooke says:

    Funny that you should have chosen today to invest time in good walk-manners. I can totally relate to the tediousness of your walk. On the other hand, it’s good for them to have good walk-manners. On our walk today, Raven and I went about 1.5 km up the road to a spot where she can romp off-leash. On the walk up I kept her on a short leash, which she’s gotten good at walking next to my side on. On the walk back, I decided to try getting her to stay at my side without the leash attached. Eventually we’d like for her to understand that she walks by our side unless we “release” her to run about.

    She’s actually very responsive to my correction (you know how Cesar Millan says you need a sound conveying your energy – his is a “sh!”, but mine’s a sharp “eh!”, having dropped the “h” of “hey” as too cumbersome to pronounce quickly). As soon as she’d start to get ahead I’d say “eh!” and reach down and “bite” her back by lightly grabbing it with my fingertips (since I didn’t have a leash to give a light tug as correction). She was very good about it, and we made it back with her only running off to roll in the oh-so-tempting snowbanks twice. But it was a somewhat tedious 1.5 km of “eh!” *bite* “good girl.” *pause* “eh!” *bite* “good girl.” *pause*

  7. My wife has been trying this with Tucker for, mmm, 10 years or so. Maybe someday he’ll get it. Have I mentioned that Tucker could well be the most stubborn dog in the history of the world?

  8. almostgotit says:

    Hey! A terrifically funny video that I immediately had to send to you, of course:

  9. Checkers says:

    I love the picture. Full-on fake fight! Your two dogs are so fabulous.

    Oh, btw..twitter-you ain’t missing much. I think it is actually a place to be a twit online. I’m silly; it’s a stretch to think of myself as a twit!

    Wags to everyone!

  10. lavenderbay says:

    Thanks, Goodbear! If you look carefully, you can see that Fergus is still a little fella in that picture.

    I’m glad to hear Raven’s making such good progress, Seabrooke! I wonder how hunters train their Labradors? They wouldn’t want their dogs charging on ahead and scaring all the ducks. Maybe Raven has some built-in understanding of walking by your side?

    Thank you, James, for letting me know I’m not alone!

    Oh, my, Almostgotit! That was hilarious! Obviously that little fella’s off-leash training still needs a little work.

    Hey, Checkers, glad you could drop in! It’s good to see you posting again. I won’t worry about the Facebook/Twitter/Myspace thing then; I’m enough of a twit without all those.

  11. Alyson Hill says:

    Stay, Milo Stay! STAY! We have a very long road ahead. Still.

  12. lavenderbay says:

    We never managed “Stay” on our own, Alyson; the boys came back from their Christmas vacation at the boarder/trainer’s knowing how. That was probably the best gift we received!

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