June 13, 2023: walks, friends and magic hands
Activity level: average
Both dogs went for a morning walk. Then, Chai and I played tug on the roof with a blanket target to bring the toy back to – our newest experiment!
Of course, we got in a bunch of morning wrestling fun as well:
Around noon, I took both dogs on a walk around the block before leaving them home alone to head over to a friend’s place to co-work.
My friend and I walked back to my place after, rope-and-facade climbing an abandoned building along the way:
Nature taking back the city – the view from the abandoned building we climbed. There’s a colony of cats living there but – strangely – no humans.
Beauty in strange places: the little things you find on a walk if you know how to see! This hidden piece of art is not much bigger than the palm of my hand. It’s close to the ground (where you may not usually look). Finding it made my day. CDMX readers: I’ll hide location clues in my the next posts! Find it and send me a picture and I’ll buy you tacos!
Then Chai got to see my friend who is her friend as well, too. She got snuggles and attention, and then all four of us went on another walk. Chai saw the same Afghan hound she had found a little creepy just the other day but showed no fear this time. Go puppy!
We also came across a large donut-shaped pillow someone had left by the side of the road. Chai thought it was suspicious. I used the Magic Hands trick to show her it wasn’t out to get her.
Magic Hands is what I (and probably some other trainers; I don’t think it was me who came up with that name) call it when we use our hands to touch an object our dog is scared of. This doesn’t work with all dogs (and all objects), but for the dogs it sometimes works for, it can be an easy solution.
Chai is one of these dogs. I tend to use magic hands in combination with increasing distance (negative reinforcement) for her. I never drag or lure a dog closer to an object – it’s up to them how close they are ready to come.
With the donut-shaped pillow, my Magic Hands alone did the trick: I let her stand back on a looose leash, walked up and touched the donut pillow. Seconds after, Chai walked up to sniff and investigate it herself. Brave puppy!
At night, Chai stayed home alone again for Game’s evening loop. Good, good puppy!
June 14, 2023: toy play, co-working, LLW …
Activity level: average
We started the day with a morning walk together with Game, and then Chai and I headed up to the roof for another tug session with the blanket target.
Zane and I co-worked from my house today, so Chai got an opportunity to stay home with Zane during Game’s noon and evening walks and both dogs hung with him in the afternoon while I went to the bakery.
Loose leash walking
We worked on collar mode up and down our street and made it up to 15 and then 20 steps between treats!1 Go puppy!
Fresa Parque freedom and games and LLW success
Chai got to run around Fresa Parque briefly, and then we played a brief 2-ball fetch game at the calm and hot park.
On the way back home, Chai waited for me in front of a store – and then we went right back to do more LLW practice on her collar! She went from zero to 20 steps between treats right away and did amazing all the way back home – even passing a Shih-Tzu along the way without breaking her 20-step streak!1
Our walk was only interrupted by a scary balloon blowing in the street. I used Magic Hands for it and then picked it up and carried it home to have it blow around the apartment as well for some more balloon demystification.
As on most evenings both Zane and I are home, Chai got some social time and human-friend snuggles at night to round out the day.
(1) For more leash walking context, check out the leash walking lectures from Out and About in your FDSA library or look here for my December class and a micro e-book on LLW.