Monday, September 26, 2011

Finally! A Real Adventure

I finally experienced my first real adventure yesterday! It start out with a car ride to our neighborhood lake. There is a nice trail around the lake, and Mommy said I need to practice my leash walking. Humph! Let's see how she likes being lead around by the neck! I mean, seriously!! She says I would have a lot more adventures and fun experiences if I would just cooperate, but I'm not sure I believe her. Anyway, I digress; back to my lake story...

Just a cute picture of me practicing recall in the back yard.
Wanted to break up all the text! :)
So, we get to the lake, and spend the first few minutes arguing about who the leader is. Fine, Mommy, I'll kind of obey you. Oh, but wait; HECK NO! There's no way I'm letting the sisters walk in front of me! *pull, pull, pull* Then Mommy was so rude as to poke me in the rump with her foot and tell me "eehh," which is her way of warning me not to do something. Well, that made me stop in my tracks and do an about-face. Apparently this reaction just reinforced Mommy, because after that she would poke me in the rump with her foot any time I got a little to, ah, enthusiastic, and I would stop and turn. She said that was MUCH more effective than her just stopping and waiting for me to behave. Well, needless to say, I got sick of being poked in such a rude fashion, so I was much more agreeable after that. On the up-side, Mommy made the sisters walk behind us, so I wouldn't be tempted to chase after them.

So, on our walk we spotted a little lizzard, some bike contraptions, a scooter contraption (which I'm sure was trying to get me), and a disgusting swarm of grasshoppers. Mommy and the sisters squealed like little girls....oh, wait; the sisters are little girls. Well, after half a mile (remember I don't go for many walks 'cause I'm naughty), I was a bit warm. Mommy took me over to the lake so I could get a drink. Um, no thank you; I'm sure there was fish, duck, and turtle cooties in there! EEEWWWW! But, I did try to get a closer look at some little fishies I saw swimming around, and then the most awful, horrible, tragical thing you can imagine happened.....I fell IN....TWICE. In to the water with the fish, duck, and turtle cooties! It seriously must have been like 3-4 inches deep. I could've drowned and Mommy just laughed at me! Oh, the horrors; I think I'm scarred for life....

So, the little rat went a little bug-eyed when I
tried a little dane play with him.
Well, after that travesty, we headed back to the car. Just before we reached the parking lot, the big sister, Avery, said, "Mommy, look at that little puppy." And sure enough, there was a little boy chihuahua doggie all alone. As soon as he saw me, he rushed right over and said "hello". He was very unsure of my Mommy though, and kept trying to run from her. I didn't especially like him, but Mommy made me do a sit-stay so she could try and earn the trust of the midget. After much coaxing, and the help of a nice man, Mommy was able to get the little guy in the car. Mommy says I am a heroine, because I was brave with the strange little dog, and helped Mommy to rescue him from the unknown perils of our suburban neighborhood.

 He wasn't wearing a name tag, only a rabies tag. So we took him home, and Mommy called the vet from his rabies tag, and they said they would find his file and his owners and call us back. We played a bit of phone tag with the vet, but finally learned that his name is Taco (which my sisters think is ridiculous). He should be going home to his family today. Thank goodness! Little runt took over MY crate, and I had to sleep in the bathroom. And I must admit, I did have an accident in there, so Mommy says I'm not quite ready to move out of my crate yet. Here are some pics of me and the midget. Mommy didn't take the camera thing to the lake. She said it was hard enough trying to control 4 wild girls (me and the 3 sisters).

Think I'll stay under this chair 'til I'm sure you don't have cooties.

Hmmm....You don't look TOO scary....

Okay, we can be friends!

(Note from Mommy Lisa: I have been stressing about Jasmine's naughtiness on the leash for a while now. I know leash training isn't easy, but I need to at least be able to control Jasmine before she is bigger than I am. I have tried the "stop when there's tension" method, but it is just not effective for us. If I had more time, maybe, but I can't have a 80-100lb puppy dragging me around the neighborhood in a few months. It has even gotten to the point that Jasmine doesn't want to go on walks, because I stop every two steps; now she just sits at the end of the driveway and refuses to move. I hated the idea of her being confined to the house for the next several months, so I decided to take her somewhere new, where she has no negative associations. She did much better. When she would walk nicely beside me, she got a hot dog, and when she pulled, I touched her rump with the toe of my shoe and "eehh" her. Jasmine would startle, turn and look at me, and wait until I caught up, then we just kept going. This seemed to work really well for us, so I think I will try it a few more times this week. I know there are a lot of "purely positive" trainers out there, but even with my kids, I may not punish a bad behavior, but I definitely address and correct it. This seems to work for my dogs as well.)


  1. Jasmin, thank you for visiting us. Sending rottie kisses to Winstin as well... This sucks, doesn't it???

  2. Hi Jasmine!
    I'm a Great Dane girl puppy living in Texas too!! I'm near Dallas, where are you? So nice to see all your adventures. My mommy had the same leash walking issues with me, until my trainer suggested the EasyWalk harness, it goes around my front shoulders so if I get a little too excited and pull it pulls me backwards. It makes it so much easier for mommy but doesn't hurt me like those scary looking pinch collars.
    Slobbers xoxo

  3. Hey an exciting new walk and the chance to be a hero? You did good super-pup! Deccy

  4. Hi Maggie Mae, it's nice to meet you. We are a little north of Dallas, between Denton and McKinney.
    Thanks for the harness tip. Mommy had considered that; we may have to try it after hearing how well it worked for you.

  5. I know exactly where you're coming from and although I promote clicker & rewards-based training, I'm also the first to say that I find appropriate correction in certain situations works much better - ESPECIALLY as you've discovered when you've got a big powerful dog and things are non-negotiable. That's my problem with the purely-positive trainers - everything they say is all very well but not often very practical (or safe) in the real world, with a big, powerful dog which you can't just hang on to by brute strength. I try as much as I can to only use positive methods but I feel that occasional correction is useful, as long as it's done in the right way.

    We went through the same thing as you - tried all the positive-only methods, like stopping & standing still as soon as there's tension on the leash. Yes, I'm sure it works eventually but it might take MONTHS and in the meantime, our giant breeds are growing into something the size of a cow. You need to gain control & respect and teach manners BEFORE your dog outweighs you. We haven't got the luxury of waiting and doing things ths slow way.

    So we also changed to your method of interrupting the behaviour with something that would startle the dog and then redirect them onto the good behaviour - and lots of praise/reward when they're doing the right thing. In our case, we used a little "pop" on the collar, via the leash (but this can take some skill to get the technique right - it's why check chains get such a bad name, coz most people use them incorrectly and 'choke' the dog when they're never meant to be tight) - but whatever works for you & Jasmine. It doesn't matter what it is as long as it startles the dog & interrupts the behaviour - giving you a chance to redirect to the alternative, desired behaviour (or just praise the cessation of the wrong behaviour).

    I also find that it helps greatly if you don't just walk in a straight line - be more unpredictable - make sudden direction changes, go around things you pass, do sudden U-turns and then back again - just to teach Jasmine that she has to keep her attention on you and follow YOU, not the other way around.

    Positive only trainers argue that using any kind of correction introduces negative things and damages the relationship with your dog but I think that's ridiculous. That's like being afraid to ever say "No" to your partner for fear they won't love you anymore. I think if you build a strong bond with your dog through other activities & teamwork, then it can withstand the occasional discipline - and your dog respects you the more for it. All my animals (incl cats) are raised/trained this way and despite how "tough" I am with them, they are happy, confident, sociable & affectionate - not damaged, cowering individuals and they always want to be with me still! Sure, you don't want to be harsh and if you have a poor relationship with your dog then punshing it will cause damage but in a healthy, good relationship, I think it all balances out. You don't fear your mother forever, do you, just because she told you off for being naughty! :-)


  6. Oh... no! When you fell in that lake thing - you didn't get your feety-feet wet, did you!?!? That would be AWFUL!!! I hope you're ok.
    Thanks for rescuing that little Mexi-pup!

  7. Wow! What a great first adventure! Katie hates getting her feet wet, so she would have freaked out at falling in the lake! TWICE! GOod job with the little lost puppy.

    And by the way, your Mom is right. If you learn to walk like a good girl you get to go to lots more fun places! Plus she might let the girls walk you sometimes too, and that would be fun. But if you're always pulling on the leash, well, then you're going to be stuck in your crate a lot. Trust me on this!

    Maybe Mom has time to take you to obedience for a few weeks? They'll work on all that leash walking for sure. I also agree with Honey that if Mom changes directions a lot while walking you'll get the idea that you need to pay attention to her.

    GOod luck with it! It will turn out to be a fun game for you and Mom, and lots of treats are involved!