Saturday, February 18, 2012

sometimes the challenge is ...

figuring out the non yelling, non punitive solution to a challenge ...

Sampson has come so far ... he is a delight to play with but every once in awhile he gets overwrought. When we are on a walk and he gets this way he flies at Sally and makes her cringe and screech at him. He isn't trying to hurt her but he's quite a lot bigger and heavier than her and she clearly doesn't love this enthusiasm. He basically leaps in the air around her and air snaps. He occasionally bounces off her.

It's so tempting, and easy, to yell "NO SAMPSON" at him ... but yelling isn't particularly effective at controlling his bounding from half a field away and I always worry Sally might think that she is in trouble as well even though we are simply trying to protect her.

I've tried various things on our walks. He seems to get most worked up coming out of the pond and at the end of the walks. Sometimes if I feel him start to "get full"of himself I can call Sally to me and do a little off leash attention work. Sampson often goes off to do his own thing then and I can release Sally to run again. Sometimes I simply engage both of them in playing with me. Throwing a stick or toy deflects the energy nicely.

Today I had a small dog leash in my pocket so I simply called  Sam and asked him to do a little attention work, I put him on leash to maximize our opportunities for success. It took about 1 minute for him to get engaged and work nicely - when I released him he happily zoomed off to do his own thing leaving Sally alone.

Love it when a plan works. Love it when a light bulb goes off in my or a dog's head.

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