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Dog walking with stroller

shibamom
March 30th, 2010, 10:22 PM
Any tips?

I am practicing walking with the (empty) stroller and my Shiba Inu. So far, the flexi-leash is not a good option, so I'm going to use a regular lead. He also gets confused as to what side to walk on (I want him to stay on the grass, not near the road) but when people/dogs walk by, it confuses him. Today was only day 1 so we are still working on it, any tips?

He is also a bit scared of the contraption :eek:

Marcha
March 30th, 2010, 10:41 PM
He's about a year and a half now, right?

We have 'side' for walking on the right, and 'heel' for walking on the left. That way Bodhi doesn't confuse herself with 'grass' or 'road', but uses my position for her own orientation.

Since the stroller is empty, could you go left if the dog pulls right, or right if the dog pulls left? Stop at random times, turn around at random times (preferably if your dog is pulling ahead), etc?

Have loads of treats ready to reward good walking behaviour. Even if the dog looks up at you mid-walk, for no reason at all. Every time the dog looks at you for direction - voila - treat.

Is there a little 'tray' on your stroller? Or a dip in the sun hood where you can have treats readily at hand? If the dog associates the stroller with the carrier of treats, he'd be more inclined to watch/ appreciate the stroller and your hands in relation to the stroller too.

Are you walking with the leash in your hand, or the leash tied umbillical around your waist?

shibamom
March 30th, 2010, 10:48 PM
He's about a year and a half now, right?


Yes! :) He is 15 months.


We have 'side' for walking on the right, and 'heel' for walking on the left. That way Bodhi doesn't confuse herself with 'grass' or 'road', but uses my position for her own orientation.

Since the stroller is empty, could you go left if the dog pulls right, or right if the dog pulls left? Stop at random times, turn around at random times (preferably if your dog is pulling ahead), etc?


That sounds like a good idea. Yes, I can whip it around however I want right now because it's empty (of course, pedestrians think I'm some rough psycho mom! LOL!). It would be good to do this to practice direction.


Have loads of treats ready to reward good walking behaviour. Even if the dog looks up at you mid-walk, for no reason at all. Every time the dog looks at you for direction - voila - treat.


That's a great idea! I did use his little poppler treats that he doesn't care too much for, I might step it up to a higher value treat.


Is there a little 'tray' on your stroller? Or a dip in the sun hood where you can have treats readily at hand? If the dog associates the stroller with the carrier of treats, he'd be more inclined to watch/ appreciate the stroller and your hands in relation to the stroller too.


Yes, good idea



Are you walking with the leash in your hand, or the leash tied umbillical around your waist?

I had the flexi-lead in my hand but it was a disaster because I had to push the stroller with only one hand. I think an umbillical tie may be better?

Marcha
March 31st, 2010, 01:29 AM
Ideally it wouldn't have to matter what kind of leash, since the dog shouldn't be pulling on it or getting in the way of the stroller. So see what happens with keeping the dog entirely focused on YOU, on where you are going, what your hands are doing, etc. I don't know how strong your dog is when he suddenly chooses to pull, or how well your balance is when he does so. Our dog is 87 lbs, and a sudden tug can yank me off balance. So you'll know best what your dog will or will not do and whether umbilical works for you.

We use high value treats for learning new behaviours, specially since our Bo (now 10 months) can be very focused on other stuff (and determined to get there). High value treats for Bo are freeze-dried liver, rollover cut into teeny pieces, or small pieces of cheese, but these also bounce away when they are dropped or if they fall.

Sometimes I will get deli cuts such as roast beef, oven roast chicken breast or turkey breast from the deli if it is on sale, and use that on our walks if I need to have the majority of my attention on something else than on walking/training her. (I'll use roast beef in this example, but it can easily be chicken or turkey.) The roast beef will absolutely guarantee that she is focused on me and my hands - well, on the roast beef of course... and she's not pulling and going places. I will casually and randomly 'drop' the pieces in front of her. The roast beef doesn't bounce away like other treats can do if I drop them on the ground. The treat bouncing away means dog bouncing away after it, which can dislocate my arm if I'm not paying attention. So no-bounce-treats work well for keeping her beside me and keeping her focused on me. If I change direction and she follows without skipping a beat - voila, treat. If she stops when I stop without me asking her to - voila, treat. If she stops AND sits when I stop, she gets two! If she is distracted by something else, I make a quick sound (it's kind of like a quick click) and immediately follow it with a treat to get her attention back to me.

Of course these are just shreds of beef, not entire slices.

Are you able to walk your dog off-leash? Could you take the stroller and the dog to an offleash area and train heeling with him there? So training him to walk beside you off-leash? It might be a very useful way to get him to do it more voluntarily while he's on the leash, and it also stimulates good habits between you both if you're training him to do the desired behaviour without the leash.

luckypenny
March 31st, 2010, 02:06 PM
He is also a bit scared of the contraption :eek:

Yes, I can whip it around however I want right now...

Careful with this if he's still afraid of it; you don't want to reinforce that fear.

Have you done any target training with him yet? Place the stroller (and any other new and strange baby items) in the center of a room, a walkway, yard, etc. and if he so much as walks towards it, say "yes, good boy" and reward him. If he sniffs it, noses it, interacts in any way with it on his own without being encouraged, praise and jackpot. You can eventually add a cue word when he's comfortable with the items eg. "touch", "go see" etc. Once he's ok with items that move, ie. stoller, baby swing, then you can start to move them around and continue to ask him to smell or see and reward him when he does. You can turn this into a fun game where he'll quickly be de-sensitized to strange "contraptions" :).

I have to add, I think the work you are doing with him in preparation for the baby's arrival is absolutely fantastic :thumbs up. Good on you!

shibamom
April 1st, 2010, 02:23 PM
Marcha~ Thank you for all the great suggestions. I agree that we need to do a bit more "focused" walking. I will start with regular walks (without stroller) and high value treats to keep up with this. It wasn't much of an issue before, but I see the consequences now with the stroller. Since the baby is not due until June 3, I have some time to work on it. Unfortunately, we cannot walk him off-leash except the fully fenced dog park (and that's a bit of a challenge if other dogs are there to play!).

luckypenny~ Again, thanks for the suggestion. It didn't even occur to me to introduce the stroller first! I will start with this as well. Too much, too soon, I think, so from square 1 is good :thumbs up

Thanks ;) I look forward to our son and our fur-son being the best of friends (I still have my childhood dog's photo on my bed dresser table). I think dogs can teach children a lot. We're moving to St Jean sur Richelieu soon, perhaps you'll have to come and see our progress- LOL!

luckypenny
April 1st, 2010, 11:19 PM
That's only one town over from us :). I'd love to meet you and Simba :cloud9: :goodvibes:.