Dog’s name: Grizzly
General obedience: We had one of those retractible leashes and he actually pulled so hard he broke the winding mechanism inside and pulled the nylon ribbon out of the casing. It was annoying for me trying to hold on to him and probably unpleasant for him since he would practically choke himself on the collar trying to lunge forward (to look at him without seeing the leash, head down and legs straining, you would think someone had hooked the poor guy up to a plough and was trying to get him to till a field).
But then we got a book about training dogs and we used the technique described in it. The technique is following: simply STOP every single time you note that the dog is about to put the slightest tension on the leash and the pulling will go away. The truth is, that if you tire your dog out first with a good game of fetch and then take him for a walk in a quiet non-distracting place every day this week with only ONE goal: to walk without tension and you absolutely refuse to take a single forward step when you feel tension on the leash, he will discover that pulling is “broken” and that the tension is a cue to slacken the lead. You will see the lightbulb go on when he realizes this. If you are consistent and don’t give up, he will learn it. He will have good days and bad, but if you are diligent he will figure it out.
It took about a time of whole summer, but than again I can’t honestly say that every family member dilligently observed the training.
However, our dog is sooooooooooo loveable that it is hard to be mad at him and press him to do stuff he doesn’t like.
Potty training: Our family lives in a large house and so we got a bell and attached it to a rope so it can be hung around the doorknob. Then through the shaping process we taught our dog that when he bumps the bell with his nose he goes outside.
The process is fairly simple as every time the door opens the bell is going to clang which will lead to the dog figuring out the bell means the door is opening. Then you show him when he bumps the bell with his nose he gets rewarded. Once you get that far the final step in the bell process is teaching him the reward only comes when he goes potty after ringing the bell and going outside.
It’s one of those trained behaviors that’s SUPER simple to teach any dog, but really impresses our guests. But more importantly, it gives our dog a way to actually tell you he REALLY needs to go potty. This comes in VERY handy when you don’t happen to be in the same room with your dog when nature calls… but with the ringing of the bell, you can hear your dog asking to go outside from any room in your house!
Dog’s name: Rusty
Location: Lexington, KY, USA
General obedience: He’s very good, very smart, and doesn’t mind his leash at all.
Potty training: We crate trained him, it only took about three weeks.