The theme for this month’s Positive Pet Training Blog Hop is training mistakes. Before I caught on to this whole positive training thing, I made so many mistakes that I wrote a book about them, called Bark and Lunge: Saving My Dog from Training Mistakes.
Everyone makes technical mistakes, like using the wrong gear, or using the right gear in the wrong way. Beyond those, one of the fundamental mistakes I made was trying to get Isis to fit the mold of the dog we wanted her to be, instead of putting her needs first.
As I write this, Rob and Mia have gone out for a beer together. Leo and I are sitting on the back patio, where the air is cool against my arms, in contrast to the gust of hot air that greeted us when we came in the front door.
I would love to take Leo with us to cafes and patio bars, but that would be for our own enjoyment, not his.
Leo doesn’t require a ton of stimulation or exercise, but we take him somewhere every day. We cheat with the dog park during the summer, because there’s too much activity on the streets during these long summer days. It’s tough for a leash-reactive dog.
Tonight, we did half and half. We drove to an off-leash field that Leo walks in and out of on leash.
The flaming orange sun hung behind a thick haze from nearby wildfires. We saw three other dogs one at a time. I made small talk with one woman, who might have found it odd when I told her my boyfriend was having a beer with our other dog.
After she and Checkers left, the crispiness of the field made me think of a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Some of my best walks with Leo are like this: solitary. I remember one around our neighborhood in the rain, where I felt like we were on patrol.
Leo would be a really good Apocalypse buddy, especially since he wouldn’t have to be on leash.
Nights like this make me happy, and remind me how low maintenance Leo really is.
I know a lot of people had a hard time over the weekend with fireworks. Our dogs aren’t afraid of them, but Leo barks at the noise. I hate the noise more than he does.
The other problem we’re having is the heat.
Last year, we took the dogs to Port Townsend for July Fourth weekend. I remember being thrilled that it wasn’t too hot to leave the dogs in the car while we went inside places to eat. We always parked within sight of our table, and left the windows down, but one of the pleasures of the Pacific Northwest is that it is rarely too hot to leave a dog in the car. For a short period.
That has not been the case this year. We’ve had a couple of weeks already of record-breaking temperatures that not only make it unsafe to leave your dog in the car, but also prompt warnings about walking dogs on hot pavement.
I wouldn’t have thought that 80-90 degree temps would make it too hot to walk dogs on pavement… until I stepped onto my own patio barefoot the other day.
A dog trainer friend commented that she saw two people running their dogs in the middle of the day and that the dogs were very clearly stressed. Probably those people thought their dogs needed the exercise; probably they mistook their dog’s panting as a good sign, not of heat exhaustion. Or maybe they’re such obsessive runners that they didn’t give a second thought about whether it was good for the dog or not.
I don’t run, but I had just recently walked Mia at noon. We were on a woodsy path, not pavement, most of it shaded by trees, but I did wonder if it was too hot for her.
That was a reminder to me to put Mia’s needs first. Maybe she doesn’t need a half-hour walk at noon on a record-breakingly hot day. And when we do take the dogs out at the hottest part of the day, we make sure it’s someplace like the Best Dog Park, where they have kiddie pools and a hose.
Positive Reinforcement Pet Training Week is hosted by Cascadian Nomads, Rubicon Days & Tenacious Little Terrier. This month we are sharing stories of our flaws as trainers. Like every month, any and all posts or comments about positive reinforcement pet training are welcome. The blog hop is open all week, so if you are a blogger, add a post and if you are a positive pet training enthusiast, hop around by clicking the thumbnails below, learn and share. Next months Positive Reinforcement Pet Training Week begins August 3rd and the theme is improving our pet training skills.
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