Bayou gets her first backpack
Morning Trip Report 10/8/2019. It’s overcast and 57 degrees this morning — FINALLY we get fall temps. Bayou and I walked 3 miles with light backpacks each.
Yesterday was abysmal and frustrating. I did everything wrong. Stopped partway, came back home and re-evaluated, well, everything. Team Ups are too ambitious (at least with Alyosha & Bayou) until I have solid loose-lead walking. So got the training collars out.
This morning was a whole new day. I was calmer, I was determined to be positive and upbeat — because if I’m not having fun, what chance do the dogs have for enjoying what we’re doing?
Bayou and I took an extra 15 minutes to fit her with a new training collar and introduce her to her backpack (lightly weighted and stuffed with fleece blankets so there was volume in the saddlebags without being heavy.) Bayou is such a good girl. She jumps up when she’s excited or frustrated, so instead of me getting frustrated, I went calm and still, spoke softly and low. She settled right down. Got the pack adjusted to fit her.
Headed out the gate and she jumped up. Went back to speaking slow and low, she sat and her tongue came out. I think she just had an adrenaline spike and as soon as I didn’t answer with the same, she realized everything was OK and calmed.
We got the gate latched and started down the driveway. This is where I started requiring loose leads instead of her dragging me around.
“Bayou, COME!” I said calmly but upbeat. As I reversed direction.
When she came up even with me and the leash was loose, “Good Girl!” And start over.
Took us a while to get down the driveway with me making random turns until she was actually paying attention to me instead of forward travel.
AFTER I got her attention, we added forward travel. Even if it was only 1 step.
Goal: Active Walking
And danged if we didn’t get it.
This is not obedience or heeling. This is hiking. It was a beautiful thing her awareness of the leash and her responsiveness to keeping the tension below tight. If the leash hung in a sway, I gave her forward momentum. If it got tight, I reversed direction. As we progressed, if she put a little tension in the leash so the lead straightened out but was still only hooked over 1 finger, I gave her that. But if my elbow straightened, OOPS.