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Teddy’s Tales: A Bolshy Schnauzer

When Kevin-the-Trainer first came to help us with Teddy’s walking-to-heel, our fluffy little Miniature Schnauzer did his very best to drag Kevin’s arm out of its socket. Persistently, despite firm reprimands. “Stubborn little thing, isn’t he?” said Kevin, somewhat affectionately. I was a little bit relieved that Teddy wasn’t saving his tenacity just for me. In subsequent months we’ve tried various methods to make Teddy stop the pulling (See Training Teddy: Heel, Teddy, Heel!).
While Teddy is an all-round polite little chap – there’s no yapping, no begging, no jumping-up – that heel work? Let’s just call it a work in progress.
Lately we have been trying the stand-still-every-time-your-dog-pulls approach. Only when the lead goes slack do you move on. As you can imagine, this takes rather a lot of time, and no small amount of patience. It’s not one to practice when you actually have to get somewhere. But we are battling on because every dog training manual and every dog trainer will tell you that allowing your dog to lead the way is All Wrong. If the dog thinks he’s in charge, you’re on a slippery slope.
But I have the feeling that Teddy has cottoned on. Over the past couple of weeks, as we have been enforcing the stop-when-he-pulls approach, Teddy has employed an I’m-not-budging response. He puts on the brakes and will not be moved. I’m slowly going bananas. I’ve tried treats, I’ve tried squeaky balls and yes, I’m sorry to say I’ve tried dragging him, only to relent and pick him up, just incase he’s suffering from something that’s not immediately obvious (Heat exhaustion? Injured hip? Sore paws?).
Yesterday was a case in point. My sons and I went for a short walk to buy ice cream, the weather was warm but not hot, Teddy was well-rested but he’d had a good run in the morning. He was perfectly perky until I pulled him away from some rubbish that he was convinced required further investigation. Ten seconds later, as if he’d been digesting the unfairness of it, Teddy decided to plant himself to the pavement. It was a protest. We waited. My sons danced about trying to get him to move. We waited some more. The boys danced some more. Finally I whisked him up and walked to the next street, then plonked him down away from the scene of the disagreement. He walked nicely all the way home.

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