Monday, December 28, 2009

Radnor Lake

Radnor Lake is just over the hill from our house and no matter what time of year it is, it's a great place to walk the human or the dog in your life. My (personal) dog, who is prey-driven and may have been a Bloodhound in a former life, is frustrated by the olfactory stimulation of it all but we visit occasionally anyway. It's a wildlife refuge and although my own nose isn't so sensitive, I suspect (by her behavior) the scent of deer is overwhelming. In an effort to preserve their habitat, dogs are required to stay on the paved road, which is off-limits to motorized traffic, but the scenery is still pretty spectacular. Three days after we last visited, it became clear there was yet another reason to keep your dog on a leash at all times - not only at Radnor Lake but at any of the parks in Tennessee. You know if there's someone paranoid enough to carry a semi-automatic weapon into a neighborhood park, they wouldn't hesitate to parlay that stupidity onto a loose dog.

Lately, I've been reading a ton of stuff about natural dog training (it focuses more attention on the the direction or redirection of a dog's energy; see links below). A couple of days ago I decided to implement a little regimen of exercises with Stella. This led us immediately, to one of the best walks we've ever had. There was little pulling and her reactivity to squirrels and other dogs was greatly diminished. I was excited by what I considered to be her progress. For once in fifteen months of walking, she was entirely mine.

We have been on walks since that time where I (again) played the part of anchor at the end of Stella's leash. I try not to take it personally (which may in fact, be the real trick). We continue to practice.

Here are a couple of good links to information on natural dog training if anyone is interested in learning more. Kevin Behan, Lee Charles Kelley's Blog and Neil Sattin's Natural Dog Blog. I haven't seen any research on it (if there is any) but the neuropsychologist in me suspects that it's perfectly logical.

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