Back at Square One

The Mush Puppies are doing great, back to their old selves. They’ve had a good long stretch of R&R, since I rested them for about a week off before seeing the chiropractor, then I went out of town for the week after.

Among other things, we did some fishing.

Among other things, we did some fishing.

On the flip side, that also means that they’ve lost some conditioning, and just as we’re getting some humid summer weather that will limit our scootering. Which is maybe a blessing in disguise, because since the ill-fated, Squash-only scooter excursion of a few posts ago I’ve realized that maybe I rely a little TOO much on Maisy as my enforcer and I’ve been wanting to get in some basic ON BY training walking in harness for the summer.

I have some lovely double ended leashes (from my favorite, Karma Collars) that I am able to hook up to my skijor belt thusly:

Playing the part of Maisy today: mushbaby

Playing the part of Maisy today: mushbaby

Which makes it much easier to work on our ON BYs. If he ignores my initial verbal command I can just start cheerleading and jogging and give a little pressure on that collar to keep him moving. When I’m walking just in harness, by the time there’s any pressure on the harness, his nose is already at whatever he’s interested in and he has self-rewarded. Boo. Premack works really well with him, too, so when he successfully responds to a verbal ON BY or if he never shows interest in something at all, I’ll occasionally release him to check it out.

I didn’t go too far with him today, about 3/4 mile out in harness and then let him walk home as a free doggy who could sniff, pee, tree squirrels, and eat grass to his heart’s content.



He did improve over the course of our short walk, but he just doesn’t have the same drive to pull that Maisy does and he is just nosy as hell. Both of these mean that he’s much more easily distracted than she is, so I think he’ll always be a bit of a work in progress. That’s ok for now since I have an enforcer, but with their age differences I sometimes worry a little bit what will happen when she needs to retire and/or a new pup comes along who needs someone to teach him/her good habits.

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