Tipping Point?

Malcolm Gladwells', The Tipping Point, brought a great many examples of how little things, when added up, can make a big difference. Over the long holiday weekend, Mark and I believed that Dexter has reached the tipping point--or rather the accumulation of our invested time in acclimating him to his home and other household members of all persuasions, is finally paying a dividend.

The tonality of "Is this our dog?" was one of wonder, not consternation. It is now said in exclamation, "This is our dog!"   The long line work has really paid off.  And he is an eager learner--as are the balance of the girls when there are treats involved.  He is finally understanding that running and battering ramming the English Setters is not such a good idea. Say what you will about aversive v. non-aversive training, a good yank in the other direction when his body is running full bore toward another dog is a lesson in physics that is MUCH KINDER than the physics lesson that the object toward which he is running experiences.  The result is that after a few such lessons (on his webbing collar, not the training collar), he has dispelled (at least currently) his notions of engaging in such pursuit.

The end result of that lesson is that we have pure walking enjoyment on the long line.  I now take it to the road (private). This walking is not a 'heeling' experience or a 'lead' experience, but simply a walk/jog on the road to
  • get some puppy energy burnt off
  • sniff here and there
  • be part of his 'pack' with Ella and Daisey running here and there, and the group of them stopping to sniff in a compelling smell without his entering battering ram mode.
During our outdoor down time (sitting, chatting, visiting with neighbors who wander by), he is able to rest quietly with the other dogs.  I consider this time important time for him to feel part of the team.  I'm working with him to run alongside my bike without biting my foot or the front tire.  I have been feeding him treats at my right side to keep him in the middle of the bike v. in front of the bike.  I'm unclear as of yet whether I'm successfully training him to do anything.    I'm going to subscribe to the notion that there will be a tipping point, either or both in his training or my tumbling off the bike. I hope it is just the former!

I bought this Treat Pouch from Entirely Pets.  It is very high quality, and it has made training life so much more easier. I was at Big Lots and I found a very high quality dog toy.  Yes, it is made in China, but I inspected it carefully.  I've never had dogs that played with toys much.  I have had good luck finding reasonable priced dog toys (for other people's dogs!) at Big Lots.  Well, Ella is the youngest (now 10).  She had some toys which she promptly shred--even when I thought she couldn't.  Dexter is no less determined.  The duck toy that I bought, made by Happy Tails, is made of super-durable materials and is very well constructed.  It has lots of textures to include a rope tail.  At $5 it is a good value.  I'm going to get a few more.

 No one enjoys Dexter more than Angel.  She always seeks him out to do her Spice Girl dancing with him. This tossed away boy has really brought so much enjoyment to our family.  He has made us all young again.


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