One week into the new training with Blue has brought about some great results.
The method was to correct some bad behaviour, which for a four year old dog weighing 45 Kilograms was not acceptable
Though not vicious his sheer size and weight could easily cause harm or panic to others including cats, dogs, squirrels.
We had previously attended different training schemes, two of which were basically to meet bad behaviour with physical repremand, though neither my wife or I are comfortable with this course of action something needed to be done. With typical traits of a pedigree German Shepherd once he got focused his will power was as strong as his physical presence.
Majority of walking was done by wife Sue, who has just under gone a recent foot operation, which took her out of dog walking for the foreseeable future.
So it was me and Blue, out there facing the world and all its challenges, things did not go well, joggers, cyclists, vans, lorries, cars, cats squirrels basically anything that moved in the wrong manner was fair game. We tried to watch some skateboarders in the local park but his antics was causing them to fall off their boards with Blue,strain at the leash.
An animal behaviourist,called Sam, came to our house when Blue was younger, and she said he is not vicious but his energies need to be refocused on something more playful. Unfortunately Blue required corrective spinal surgery at 7 months, this played a significant part in his lifestyle and how we wanted to treat him, we did not want to beat a dog into submission after what we went through following that major operation, I will talk more on this in a later blog.
So, the new method was tried; A plastic drinks bottle full of water was taken out on our walk. As we walked out of the house, squirrel alert Blue meets the challenge with barking and spinning into his usual death roll on a lead, whoosh, silence.
When I squirted him in the face with the water, instantly it broke his focus, and with a sorrowful look, he looked me eye to eye with pity in his face as if to say, why did you do that.
Since that initial incident the water has only left the bottle once more to date, all other times the mere shaking of the bottle brought instant focus on me and not the challenge in front of Blue.
There has been such a change in him this method does no lasting damage and does not attract much alarm to passers by.
There is still work in progress, but it is lovely to walk Blue on a loose lead and enjoy a much more relaxed walk, he certainly gets much more from his new lifestyle.