Monday, September 13, 2010
First, I have to say, Riagan has the honor of having been the easiest dog I have ever trained to heel. It never felt like work.
The breeder at Laloba Hounds sent a very large, self-compiled notebook with Riagan when she came to our home. In that notebook she had a section on how she and her husband preferred to walk their wolfhounds in the early processes of training. Their method distributed pressure throughout the chest rather than solely on the neck.
So, when we walked Riagan, we used a horse lead draped over her right shoulder and collected up on the other side. It was a sort of chest halter--when she'd move forward out of the heel position, I'd pull her whole body back by my side.
Today was the first day I switched to the choke collar. Half of her walk was with the chest halter--the other half solely with the collar alone. The collar, therefore, was not the main method--it was only a reminder to come back.
It only took Riagan a couple of reminders, after that, she could be called back verbally with a very gentle, "Riagan, heel," and no pressure to the neck or chest. She walked with a slack lead the whole way--even past barking dogs and loud trucks.
All and all, she has had very little walking training of any sort since we're cautioned not to over-walk young hounds. But as she enters her sixth month and we are, more and more, in public on a leash--and she is, more and more, leviathan, there is a particular need to walk nicely and not yank mama's arm off. (No yanking here).
Which leads me to my overall conclusion (and Wolfhound owners will not be surprised by this)--
Wolfhounds are SMART.