Cruz Taught Me Something Today.
Cruz and I have went through the first round of training classes alittle over a month ago. I've been waiting for work to calm down to get going on the second round. In the mean time, We have worked on the stuff we learned in the first round. Basics, loose leash walking, setting, laying ect.
Well at 8 months now, he has always had a high degree of prey drive in him. He likes to go after anything that moves, but cars are his favorite. They get him worked up. We've been working on using the "leave it" command when encountering cars with mixed results. This goes for encountering other dogs also.
OK, this goes along way towards what I've read in posts here on this site, but the walkers mood, leash tension among other things I've really started focusing on. But one thing is verbaly talking to him while walking. I didn't notice it til lately, and maybe it's a matter of it happening enough times for me to realise, I'm talking to him too much I think. I know it's been mentioned that some dogs can be overly corrected. So I decided to shut my yapper and see his reaction. The first two cars went by and I kept eyes forward and a steady pace. He kind of turned and looked at the first to cars go by then when others went by he basically ignored them all together. I've also noticed, the less I talk on the walk, the more he looks up at me. The more I talked, the more he ignored me. It's also translated over to setting at every street crossing. I command once and he does it.
So, I kind of feel that my dog has finally trained me to command him in the way he responds the best. Thats less verbal and more visual.
My trainer always taught us to not speak to them while training them to walk, but an assistant trainer working with her told us she thought it would be ok to praise him while walking. So that kind of where I started talking to him and commanding him while walking. I can see now why my original instructor advised us not to talk to them while walking. I think it also goes back to leash tension and him reading my anxiety when he went after cars. If I do talk to him, it's in a normal tone. I had a habit of lowering my voice (it does carry and can be loud at times) when using the leave it command. I noticed it seemed to amp him up almost like he was taking it as a go get it command.
So anyways, we've had two exellent walks. He's doing alot better and I can see the progress now. Don't get me wrong, I still talk to him or command him when needed, I've just cut it down alot and pick my times more carefuly. It's one command and thats it now.