So this morning, it finally dawned on me, clearly what the trainers have been trying to tell me, which is that if you want a dog to come to you, you don’t say in a stern commanding voice, “Come,” instead what you do is you put on your high squishy gishy voice, put your hand in your jacket pocket, and say, “Does Pooky Looky want a treat,” and big butch Shepherd/Collie boy immediately comes trotting over, whereupon I give him a treat. Also I’ve realized it doesn’t matter how big the treat is, a molecule of flavour seems to satisfy him, and then I can easily and calmly grab his collar and, if need be, put his leash on.
In the forest today, every single time I did this it worked and during high-stake situations, as well, where joggers and other dogs were involved and, in the case of one set of dogs, it was a good thing because, with hand on Ami’s collar, I asked the owner, “Are you dogs friendly,” and she answered, “Not really.” So I leashed Ami and we walked past them and, interestingly enough, Ami didn’t want to go near those two dogs, he wanted to go away from them, but had I not done my pookylookysquishygishy thing, he probably would have run up to them eagerly and then been pulverized. It also worked with joggers and almost every situation we encountered this morning.
I am also teaching him a command which I made up which is “Hind,” which means he has to be behind me, not heeling, but behind me. This is very useful on narrow forest paths where if he’s leading and runs into dogless people, he will make the wrong choice figuring he’s running defence and start barking at them, whereas if I’m in the lead, I can reach back and grab his collar and then calmly decide what course of action is best.
Also we have ongoing leash lessons and I must say he is becoming very obedient and sensitive to what I want when he’s on the leash.
Also, on another note, what led me to finally figure all this out and crack down is the other day at Valentine Mountain we were heading up a path back to the car and suddenly out of the blue a fellow appeared right in our path and Ami was ahead of me. This was before implementing my pookylooky thing and so I said sternly, “Come” and went forward to grab Ami, but both my tone and my forward movement propelled Ami forward, as well, and then the young fellow smiled and started towards me, and Ami started barking and barking and went right up to the guy, and I finally did grab Ami and I apologized three times to the fellow who was wearing big headphones which he never did remove and he never did say a single word and I don’t even know if he heard my apologies, but I do feel bad about it and it has led to me exercising even greater vigilance, discipline, consistency, and rigour in our outings, but I would like to say I’m sorry to the fellow if I ever see him again as he was happily strolling along listening to tunes and then tries to be nice to a lady and her dog and gets vehemently barked at for his well-intentioned efforts.
So, kind fellow on the path at whom my dog barked, I apologize and want to assure you that it has led to me instigating greater control over my dog, so, seriously and sincerely, sorry and thank you.
Of course, if it turns out you were actually a serial killer and were smiling because the knife in your pocket felt so lovely, well, then thank you, Amicus. I’m just saying.