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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tuesday's Training TIP: KEEP THAT NOSE UP

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, 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!


  • 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.

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