Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Weekly Featuers: Love Letters From a Dogwalker

RuffCity's Heather walked Havi yesterday, with a new friend Joey.  Havi hasn't needed a walk for the past 5 weeks, and was VERY excited to see Heather. Our most popular feature...

So happy to see the baby girl! 

I'm glad she wasn't too pooped from her adventure yesterday and was ready for an adventure of our own today. We picked up Mr. Joey and after an interesting and overly excited elevator ride with your neighbor I finally got them in the groove had a smooth walk to the park to meet Kellie, Jax and Sophie.

She pooped on the way there :)

Everyone was playing totally fine. She got into an intense chasing match with Joey but then they got into a little tiff with each other. We separated them and got them chilled out and they continued playing for awhile before it happened again :( But then we found a great game for them- the ball! Havi just ran with him while he fetched it and brought it back. Today wasn't terrible by any means but I'll avoid walking them together again so she can have successful adventures! 

On the way home she tried to jump on two different runners which caught me by total surprise- is this new?? The second one that passed I had her under control but she still attempted to go for her!

We dropped Joey off and then back home I gave her her milkbone. I didn't see any spring water so I put a little tap in her bowl because it was really low. Hope that's ok!

And I heard her barking while I was waiting for the elevator which I've never heard before :(

Today wasn't the greatest we've had but she still had a blast and I'm so happy to have her back!

Have a great week!

We really want to work with Havi on her tendency to run WITH runners.  This was distracting on her Pack Walk Sunday as well as the only time we ever lost her...when she broke her leash in order to chase a runner.  Ideas?!  (Keep in mind, Havi is not that into food, even high value!)


  1. Maisie used to do that with runners all the time but is over it for the most part. not sure why, except I try to be uber aware of our surroundings now and whenever I see a runner coming, I pull Maisie to the side and immediately put her in a sit until the runner is past us. sometimes I do that even when people are walking by, just to practice. occasionally they'll make a comment like "what a well behaved dog!" and I always reply "sometimes!" ;)

  2. Hey Havi!
    Wow, I love that you have your own personal peep to take you for adventure walkies. I think you just need to do something unexpected every now and then to keep them from getting bored! BOL.
    Grr and Woof,
    Sarge, COP

  3. I worked through a similar thing with Pallo and bikes/strollers (which he wanted to chase and bark at) by keeping an eye out for them and always having his ball ready. If he looked at them, then turned back to me, he would get a reward. But, he had to do both- look at it, look at me, reward. He learned pretty quickly that it was way more fun to stick with me.

  4. It's fairly unusual for her not to be interested in food -- maybe she's just full? How much are you feeding her per day?

    If she responds to your happy-go-lucky praise, go ahead and try that, but if you can't keep her attention/keep her distracted, you're going to have a hard time dealing with the runner thing.

    Anyway, you can set Havi up for success (once you've figured out what is reinforcing to her) by having someone you know be the "runner" (who doesn't run just yet) while you reinforce Havi (heavily) for attention/sit-stay at the curb. Have the runner walk past briskly, reinforce, repeat. Have the runner increase his pace to a slow jog, reinforce, repeat. Have the runner increase his pace to a brisk jog, reinforce, repeat. If at any time she breaks her attention/sit-stay, go back to having the runner slow his pace a bit, when she's successful, have him increase his pace again.

    This is going to take time and dedication on your behalf. People who run are very interesting to dogs who walk at their guardian's pace all the time! You definitely don't want it to turn into aggression (I can't catch him, rawr!), so don't wait until it's a problem!

  5. Ximena and K-Koira have great advice. It will just depend on Havi and you what works best for her.

    I did the look at that game...look at the dog, bicycle, runner, car, scooter etc (yup all of those) and then back at me. Then big reward. It becomes ohh that {enter object/person} means I get treats if I look at mom. Or in Havi's case, a toy, belly rub something.

    I originally tried having Sophie sit facing me and not breaking her attention from me with passing dogs per our behaviorist suggestion. But her having to hold my attention and a sit stay would make her more nervous. Eventually the watch me command became a reactive trigger. Still can't say watch me without her heading going up to look for a nearby scary thing and growls. Letting her look at the object then rewarding her for immediately returning her attention to me and remaining calm worked for us.

  6. All great advice- teaching Havi that a runner approaching is the signal for a game of 'look at that, look at me' is a great way to change her behavior. I know Havi has some tummy issues, so finding the right food can be tough. You may want to use something insanely good like actual meat (which protein source does she digest well?) but only break it out on walks and never give her access to it unless a runner is around. She'll start to look forward to seeing runners, but in a whole new way! Then I'd just decrease how much she gets at meals so she doesn't turn into a black and white piglet!