Over the past 8 weeks, I’ve been slowly but steadily training my 3-year-old dog Shelagh to walk nicely on the lead. We’re fortunate enough to live in an area close by to several beaches, with numerous parks and pockets of green within 10 minutes walking distance from home.
So far Shelagh and Scruffy have walked on the beach, alongside the beach, all around our neighbourhood, and along various different parts of the Rockingham foreshore. We’ve also stopped along the foreshore’s busy café strip for frozen yogurt and coffee so Shelagh has gotten accustomed to people passing by.
Just a few days ago, I trusted Shelagh enough to let her run off lead in the park, after checking that no other people or dogs were around. I was so proud when Shelagh didn’t just take off and run away, but instead was happy enough to nose around the trees and bushes with Scruffy. She also came when called, and a couple of times when she chose to have selective hearing because some scent was far more interesting, I was able to get her to return to me by calling for Scruffy, my ever-reliable Control Dog, instead. When he turned around and raced towards me, Shelagh did the same.
So far, so good. In the beginning, when this experiment began, Shelagh would be too wound up and stressed to show interest in any treats I offered her while out walking. Gradually, as she became accustomed to our new routine and the environment around her, she relaxed enough to take the treat from my hand readily. Ditto with any water I offered her.
Her body language has changed too – from a tail tucked right down and under her body in the beginning, to a more normal, raised tail.
And then this happened today.
O miracle of miracles! Yes!!
I love my dogs so much ❤❤!!