Follow My Lead

I’ve found it quite difficult to train my bipeds to walk nicely on the lead. I have to coax them along very carefully. I should be able to tow my bipeds along at the speed I choose – I’m big and strong, it should be easy! I’ve seen bipeds being towed along, arms straight out and the lead taut, it always looks so delightful to me. Some very small dogs seem to manage it very well. I sometimes think I have the most stubborn bipeds on the planet! But I think I should take you back to the beginning, so that you can see how this came about and, hopefully, other puppies will be able to avoid my mistakes.

My first mistake was that I didn’t understand how important it was to train my bipeds to walk well on the lead. I initially refused to walk when the lead was attached and they had to tempt me with treats. Getting as many treats as possible seemed like a really good plan, but, with hindsight, I can see my priorities were wrong at that early stage. They’d managed to get the upper paw, quite sneakily I might add. I discovered the importance of bipeds being lead-trained when I had my first real walk and I set about training them afterwards.

This early training was mostly on the female biped, as the male biped had a problem with his ankle when I was young. I set about teaching her to go in the direction I wanted and at the speed I wanted, but she responded really badly! Every time I put the slightest tension on the lead to get her to go faster, or in a different direction, she would turn and set off in a new direction of her own as though she was in charge. This was so frustrating! I spent weeks doing everything I could think of. When I thought I’d come up with a really good plan – this was to pull and bounce as hard as I possibly could – she just stood still and refused to move at all. After a few weeks of these attempts, I settled for coaxing her along, with no tension on the lead, at the pace she liked – for the time being.

When I was about six months old, I decided it was time to move her training on a little. She could now walk quite nicely, if I applied no tension to the lead and I allowed her to choose the direction. I was much stronger now and I thought I could put my strength to good use. We walked a few hundred yards this particular morning and then I decided we should walk a little faster, so I applied tension to the lead. She said, “Clowie, don’t pull!” I didn’t release the tension as she was expecting me to, instead I pulled much harder. She tried to change direction, but I was prepared for this – I just refused to move at all.

She said, “this way”, but I remained on the spot. She then told me to sit, using a very firm tone of voice. She knows my weakness! So, of course, I sat. They had spent weeks brainwashing me, so that my first thought on hearing ‘sit’ is that I’ll get something tasty if I comply! She told me I was good for sitting and then asked me to walk. We took two steps, I pulled on the lead and she told me to sit. We spent the next few weeks doing what I call the sit-two-step. It goes like this – step, step, sit, step, step, sit, step, step, sit, ad infinitum!

I became so bored that I gradually did a few more steps without pulling, in the hopes of actually getting somewhere! We gradually made better progress and I resigned myself to coaxing her along at her pace. I’m sure this is what she intended all along!

Although I’ve failed in training them to walk the way I’d like, I have discovered that my ‘walking nicely’ as they call it has its benefits. I get to take my bipeds on lots of lovely walks and, sometimes, when we have a family day out I’m allowed to walk very small nieces and nephews on my lead. One of my bipeds stays close by with a handy supply of very tasty treats. And the cuteness factor of walking with a young biped who can’t see over my shoulder always gets me lots of attention and admiration from all the bipeds around.

See you next Wednesday!

88 Comments

  1. Doggy makes me run for my money literally, he likes to run and I should keep up with him, however, he’s a tricky dog, he likes to be right next to me because I used to keep the treats on my pocket and he would walk and try to reach for the treats, food makes a dog go a long way lol

  2. Clowie, you have such a tough life! Having to conform to the bipeds’ ways – brutal. I’m glad to see you passing your wisdom and experience along to the younger pups. Good dog!

  3. Sounds like you’re doing really well. I’m not allowed to have a small human with me yet. I’ve nearly trained the humans but she has this really really tasty chicken … and sometimes, I just HAVE to have some. I look at her so much for my chicken that I walked into a lamp post. It’s just too tasty!!

  4. Hi Y’all!

    I’m still BOL!!! Clowie your experience teaching the Humans is almost identical to mine!

    Y’all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  5. We have a very big yard that I run and play in several times a day so we don’t go on walks. This was a very interesting post. Good job sweet Clowie. Hugs and nose kisses

  6. Oh we are so glad we are outdoor cats MOL ;-). Good job though Clowie furry hugs

  7. I’m not very good at training Jen either to be honest, but she is a tad bit stubborn.

  8. When we had Satin, our Pyr, we had the opposite problem. Mom decided at 4 months that she would start teaching her to take a walk. Satin did not want to walk!! We would take 3 steps then she would sit down. I’d get her up and we would go 3or4 and sit. It took 20 min. To just go to the end of our SHORT street then, of course we had to follow that pattern all the way back home. She never changed her mind about walks 🙁

  9. Haha! ” I’ve seen bipeds being towed along, arms straight out and the lead taut” – thats the way to go, Clowie! 😉

  10. Oh, humans!

    But it would seem we cats have been more successful in training our humans that dogs. They don’t try to bathe us or teach us how to walk.

  11. Pingback: Hot on the trail | Clowie's Corner

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