I just wanted to give an update on Sola's 'heel' training (or at best, her walking without dislocating my shoulder or throwing me in a ditch training
I wrote my initial post waaaay back in December. I was at the end of my rope. Sola was extremely determined to pull, pull, pull her way through each and every walk. I then discovered the chest harness, after the martingale didn't appear to be working for me (I later learned three things about the martingale- I *think* I had purchased one size too large, Sola was too young, and I'm not convinced I was using it correctly at first).
The chest harness worked fairly well. Sola did stop pulling a LOT. However, it didn't provide the control I required to keep her from going towards people (playfully, not aggressively, but still not acceptable) when on walks. I still think the harness will still have its place for us- it can double as a seat belt, for example, and may be good for times when you don't NEED a ton of control.
So, I decided to whip out the martingale again, first we walked just up and down the driveway. It went much better than expected. Sola was able to heel properly- I was amazed...
Then today, I took Sola to the on-leash park. This is where I anticipated trouble. I was getting tired of having her either sit when people walked or jogged by to avoid her trying to go after anyone (the park is not a very busy one) or trying to distract her, etc. I figured there must be a better way. Well, today, I was truly AMAZED by Sola's progress. I don't want to get my hopes up too high, but she walked so well, right next to me, and didn't lunge at any joggers. I was even able to keep her under control when a squirrel appeared
At any rate, I can't express how excited I am that she is now able to walk nicely with me, it was a huge worry and I was very discouraged. It probably seems like a small feat to those whose doggies do this more easily, but I assure you this is groundbreaking for us. After all the work and frustration, Sola is finally a pleasure to walk.
I am so proud of her.