My goal with this blog is for you to enjoy your time here. Most of the posts talk about my experiences raising my two yellow Labrador Retrievers, some are just for fun, and others share the best dog related information and products I have found.

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

It's worth it, I promise!!

When you have those break through moments they reward you beyond compare. I promise!

I had one today with Shelby. As I've mentioned before there was a time just about this time last year when I truly believed that every squirrel and bird in the neighborhood had conspired against me. They seemed to come out in full force when ever I would try and take Shelby for a walk around the block. He would yank on his leash and carry on like an insane dog barking and whining and lunging. The prong collar didn't seem to phase him in the least and all my yelling at him was of no use it only added fuel to the fire.

We've been working so hard this past year to change our approach, to work with the language he understands, to set new positive boundaries and expectations. I was rewarded today. I've started very short distance walks off leash in the neighborhood, mainly when I'm running next door or across the street to the neighbors. Nutmeg is the angle of perfection on these walks, and much to his credit Shelby is getting more reliable. Well, today I made it to the end of the drive when I was distracted by a neighbor and stopped. Shelby stopped in a perfect "heel" next to me without my having to say a thing as I talked across the street. Out of the corner of my eye I saw him quickly shift to my right side and he yipped. Ever in tune with them when off leash I quickly called him back to my left side into a "sit stay". Once I knew he was anchored I ventured a look at what had caught his attention. There, just three houses down, was a squirrel darting across the street. Fixed at my side Shelby was having a fit, barking whining and carrying on, but to my amazement it was evident at points that he was trying hard to contain himself. Just two reminders to "stay" at my side and "leave it" was all I had to add.

I was shocked! Just a few short months ago he would have been off in a flash, especially since he was off leash. Despite the loud fit he was having at my side - he was at my side. I know that this is only one test and that we will not always come through them so well but what amazing progress we have both made. I was so proud, my neighbor was impressed, I couldn't stop grinning. Calmly and quietly when he was finally quite I told him what a very good dog he was. What a moment - one worth waiting and working for. I have to keep reminding myself that he's just 17 months and we've had to back peddle a bit in that time.

One thing was clear today though, we're well on our way - both of us!

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