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Since most local recreation areas are still closed because of hurricane Sandy, I've been doing much more walking with Kira, than off leash playing and hiking.

On each walk, I try to add a little "training", using commands such as "leave it" as we pass a nearby dog or jogger, or move left or right heel, when I want her to switch sides, etc...

The past few walks, I've noticed a "change of state" for better words. Her state of mind seems to have gotten very relaxed on walks, and non-attentive to anything around her. This is the very opposite of what she's always been like. She's always been perky, alert, and looking around at everything and anything that moves.
Now she walks with her head low, ears low.

I will admit that I taught her to ignore people and dogs as we walk.

Is this a good thing? Do I want her so disconnected from her surroundings?

Just curious if I did more harm, than good.
 

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Delgado does the same, when he's focused on the walk his head lowers and his ears pin back and his eyes stay fixed ahead. His heel is impeccable when he's focused so I can't really complain and he's not unhappy he's just focused. He doesn't do it all the time so I just let him be when he's doing it, if he was doing it all the time I probably would snap him out of it. When I speak to him his ears perk up and he'll give me eye contact so he's not so focused he's unreachable
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Delgado does the same, when he's focused on the walk his head lowers and his ears pin back and his eyes stay fixed ahead. His heel is impeccable when he's focused so I can't really complain and he's not unhappy he's just focused. He doesn't do it all the time so I just let him be when he's doing it, if he was doing it all the time I probably would snap him out of it. When I speak to him his ears perk up and he'll give me eye contact so he's not so focused he's unreachable
Yes. This is exactly what she's doing. Head low, ears back, eyes fixed ahead too.

So what you're saying is this "relaxed state" on her walk, is really her focusing on her walk?

Don't get me wrong. I think it's great that I can hold the leash loosely in my hand, and not worry about lunging, pulling, etc...
I was more concerned that maybe the walk has her stressed, and she may not be enjoying it.
 

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Yes. This is exactly what she's doing. Head low, ears back, eyes fixed ahead too.

So what you're saying is this "relaxed state" on her walk, is really her focusing on her walk?

Don't get me wrong. I think it's great that I can hold the leash loosely in my hand, and not worry about lunging, pulling, etc...
I was more concerned that maybe the walk has her stressed, and she may not be enjoying it.
For Delgado, it's focus. He started it maybe 3 months ago, he went from head sweeping side to side watching everything, sniffing the air, and lightly pulling here and there to see everything to doing the stare. I wonder if he's still processing in the same way with the sniffing and listening but doing it in a different way with keeping in a good heel and not moving around which doesn't get him corrected (light corrections of course)

It was winter time so I thought at first it was him shutting down and not enjoying the walk because of the ice and snow but now it's more decent weather and still the same. Taking him new places doesn't change it so it's not boredom.

I honestly don't know what it is exactly but he's not unhappy, his eyes will glance at distractions (dogs barking behind fences, people walking by, etc) but then they fix ahead down the road. His ears prick at sounds, his tail still wags, and he'll give eye contact readily if I speak to him and his eyes are always bright
 

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As my dog matured, he seemed to lose interest in outside distractions on walks. He only had eyes for his family. He was completely approachable and unflappable .. just didn't care. He was happy to be with us and to be on an outing, but his affection and attention was only for us.
 

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Finn is the exact same way. I can hold the leash loosely in one hand and he doesn't pull or quicken pace at all. We are still working on him completely ignoring all the people going past, but even then, he doesn't bother them too much.
 

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Calm and relaxed is much better than super alert and hypervigilant, IMO. This could be partly training, partly repeated exposure, and partly maturing. Both Keefer and Halo calmed down and became more relaxed on walks as they matured.

Keef used to totally default to the environment when he was younger, and now he doesn't really look at me much when we're out and about but he doesn't really focus on the environment either, he just trots along happily.

Halo had pretty high startle reflex when she was young. I took her to a very busy nearby regional park a few times a week to work on training and leash skills from about 7 months old. There are lots of distractions there, including birds, squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, wild turkeys, and deer. She'd jump at a rustle in the bushes next to the trail, or at something that was "off", like the time one of the garbage cans was tipped over so we saw the bottom of the can as we approached. I'd just be calm and upbeat and encourage her to investigate anything she alerted to, and now she never reacts to anything. Lots of repeated exposure to new things in a distracting environment, and it all becomes routine and ordinary. And that's a good thing!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks all.

I guess my "baby" is maturing, combined with her "boot camp" owner :)


I'm seeing so many changes in her behavior, that when I look back, I can see that she was very much a puppy up until 20 months.
She's already starting to act like an old fart.:)
 
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