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Ronan's Getting It!!!

July 24th, 2007, 12:25 PM
I went for my usual late-night walk the other night with the boys and I was so proud of Ronan I just had to share!!! Now the thing you gotta keep in mind with Ronan is that he has no motivators other than pulling. He doesnt care about food, he doesnt care about attention, he doesnt care about toys, he doesnt care about a lot of things, especially when he has something set in his mind that he is going to do (or not do). So I had to explore more deeply into alternate methods than what I commonly use. There is a fine balance for him between not praising enough and praising too much (he becomes immune to it and begins ignoring it). On the flip side there is also a fine line between not correcting enough (he will then ignore any correction and keep doing what he is doing) and correcting too much (he will shut down). I have a feeling this is due to the trainers his old owners took him too when he was younger (apparently he is a multiple training school drop-out). I think he was taken to both extremes (ie, taken to a positive-only place where he quickly discovered he could do what he wanted and get away with it - not caring whether or not he got the treat and then before or after taken to a Koehler-style place where everything was negative, hence shutting down and then discovering that makes people stop pushing him). In all honesty I do not know the training side of his past I do not know what methods were used, all I know is what I have done with him via sledding and now owning him.

Anyway this looong story DOES have a point LOL. Ever since I have known Ronan "heel" has not been a part of his vocabulary by any means. He quickly learned that I do not tolerate a pulling dog and we nipped that in the bud but he still would always stay up front (not that I minded as that is where I encourage my dogs to be for reasons I have explained before - related to sledding) and would keep tension on the leash. We have been working on heel in my basement but he really didnt seem to catch on very much and things seemed to move slower than molossis. Yesterday though, I was approaching a busy intersection, I started shortening Ronan's leash and at the same time I said "Boys, heel!" I swear my jaw hit the ground when not just OC feel back to my side, but Ronan did too! I wanted to shout and scream for joy but I knew that would throw Ronan off so instead I said a quiet "Goooood boy" and tickled his ears a little. We got to the intersection and I slowed down about to say "Boys sit" but before "Boys" even left my mouth both dogs were sitting beside me!!!!! Ronan was looking up at me with that certain look he gives me that is filled with the most adoration, the one where he is giving me his full 100% attention and a goofy grin on his face because he knows he has done the right thing. I told them "Goooood boys!" again and tickled their ears.

When the light signaled for us to walk I took a step and OC stayed by my side but Ronan lunged forward. I said a quick "Ah!" and gave a very small tug on the leash. Ronan looked back at me with that "f* u!" look he's so good at for one quick second and I just said "Ronan...." and sure enough he went right back to the "I adore you" face with the silly grin and in one bound was back at my side again. I tickled his ears, walked a little further and then released both boys (meaning they can go anywhere the leash allows so long as they dont pull). I'm so proud of him!!!!! He's getting it!!!!! He's actually getting it!

All other obedience commands have been simply to teach him it was just that darn "heel" that was taking so long for him to accept and understand. I cant take all the credit though as Im sure a big help was him watching OC to see what he was supposed to be doing.

July 24th, 2007, 12:30 PM
Isn't it great when you know they finally get it! Good work Ronan

July 25th, 2007, 11:13 AM
Good for you OC ( and you too :pawprint: OC !) ~ the strong-willed ones can be quite the challenge can't they ? I wish I had your stick-to-it-tiveness. I'm ALWAYS incredibly impressed when I see someone with multiple dogs who are working well in tandem ~ me ? I'm too busy untangling myself from 3 leashes :laughing:

Congrats and keep up the good work !