|The dogwood are just beginning to bloom along our trail.|
Ahhhh, spring is in the air. And for a nine-month-old Labrador puppy, spring is on the ground, too.
|An American Sparrow lifts off in surprise!|
Maintaining a nice heel during a hike through springwoods with all the smells waking up is a challenge for FLD Gus. His nose snorts along the ground, now and then twisting off the trail to catch a whiff of something I can't smell, but which lingers on a sprout of tree.
Name recognition, finger pokes, "leave its," even a quick leash snap when he jerks off to the side are strategies I employ to keep FLD Gus on task. Not a very peaceful walk in the woods for me. I'm sure he is thinking the same thing!
Then it hit me. Something Sam said during puppy-class at Leader Dogs last week about keeping puppy noses off the ground during a walk...now, what was it?
Oh! I remember. "Increase your pace," she said. That's it!
Okay, Gus, let's go.
I pick up the pace, hup, hup! FLD Gus lifts his head, wondering "where's the fire," but he bounces along for the moment, more interested in where I am off to than what he is passing on the ground.
If I can only keep this up. Whew!
HINTS TO KEEP YOUR PUPPY'S NOSE UP
- Use name recognition to draw your puppy's attention to you.
- Touch your puppy with your finger to distract his eyes off the ground.
- If your puppy knows the LEAVE IT command, use it!
- As Sam suggested, pick up the pace so your puppy gets excited to GO!
- Use your excited, high-pitched voice to keep your puppy focused on moving WITH you.