Training Intensified

Upon returning from our Anchorage trip, where I had Tomodachi spayed, we buckled down on further training. In Togiak it is easy enough to find places to let the dogs go free, though I am very hesitant in letting them roam. Not because I don’t want to enrich their lives, but as the ‘go-to’ person when animals are hurt, I’ve heard how people have shot dogs with their owners right there. On the day of these pictures I made sure no one else was around, save a friend, and a couple in a boat who were busy fishing. The fact that humans are shooting dogs on the beach is disgusting, so I don’t like to let them too far from my person.

The reason for letting the dogs run off, though, is recall. While in Anchorage a dog ran up to both myself and another dog walker (both of us had our dogs on-leash). This dog didn’t return when the owner called. She tried to reassure both of us that her dog was friendly. Let’s forget the fact that maybe our dogs might be violent, and if an unleashed dog approaches our dogs might attack, dogs shouldn’t be running free. Luckily for me, my dogs are very well behaved, but that is beside the point. The other dog walker’s dogs were toy breeds, and a large shepherd running toward them could cause anxiety. I, myself, have become violent with dogs coming after mine. I carry a taser cane because we have been attacked multiple times since moving to Togiak.

Both my pups need to work on recall. I don’t know if I will let them off much while in Togiak outside the fenced in area I am cleaning and setting up. We also practice in the home.

The white dog in both pictures is Apollo. His owners are both irresponsible and reprehensible. Apollo has attacked dogs in my care on more than one occasion. (I’ve had two students claim Apollo bit them, and nothing was done.) The second picture is of him and his ‘pack’ attacking a smaller dog, who was eventually surrendered because he was too scared to leave their place to use the bathroom. I’ve had multiple dealings with Apollo’s female owner and my description of her is ‘user.’ She cares only for herself and once a person stops doing what she wants, she threatens them (I have Messenger proof of her threatening me saved, so I am not saying this out of the blue). My reason for posting this under training is because, as you can see, none of these dogs are on leash, nor are their owners around. So, how does one train their dogs when ferals such as these are running amok? (As an aside, while these dogs are owned by irresponsible people, there are more people in Togiak who are responsible than not, and these folks are wonderful.)

Nakama, Tomodachi, and I train indoors. It is pretty simple to work with them while inside because they are off-leash and always ready for a treat. Both dogs are awesome at waiting before chowing down on both their meals and snacks.

We also play the games that involve following me and coming from one room to another. My doggos are both food-motivated, so we use homemade and store-bought treats. They like them all, so I can switch it up easily enough. One day I hope to do more training outside after they have learned ‘ignore.’

Ignore is a major training. Nakama is about 50% when it comes to ignoring while we are walking along. Tomodachi, since she is only ten months, is still very social. I’ve had to train the students in the area to ignore us so I can train my dogs. Sometimes that training proves not to have sunk in, so I have no issues with telling children to leave. This does not work with ferals running around. The best we can do at this point is train my dogs, and if necessary do what I need to in order to keep my dogs safe. When I can’t trust the people or the dogs in the vicinity, I have to train the three of us to be on the defensive. Training equals safety, and I want everyone to be safe.

How Much is Too Much?

Puppers on a 5k!

A little over a month ago we did a thing! We managed a continuous 5k, but it was clearly too much to make this start. While Nakama is fully capable and ready for a continuous 10k, Tomodachi was not ready for this smaller continuous walk. When we got home they both passed out for the rest of the day. Granted, maybe we should have started with broken increments anyway, even for Nakama, who used to do 10k’s with me all the time. Unfortunately it was the nicest it had been in a long while, my feet were not hurting in any way, and we hadn’t had a walk in a long time. Part of the issue, not mentioned above, was the fear of the dog who had attacked. Said dog is now dead due to owner negligence. So, we were clearly ready for some sort of walk thanks to the cabin fever. However, now we will break our 5k’s up. Once school is over for the term we will have three walks a day for a total of 5 to 6k. This way we get out of the house for a time and still get in a good 5k a day to keep training for our massive walk.

Passed out after a walk!

A good rule of thumb for walking dogs under two, per many Internet searches, and speaking with the vet, is five minutes for every month of the dog’s age. Tomodachi is currently eight months old, so I keep our walks to 40 minutes or less. This includes meandering and basically sniffing every twig, brush pile, and rock cluster we come across. Generally we hit about 1.5 miles in such a time, which fits my 5 to 6k goal. I hope she improves in her concentration as we practice more. This summer we are hitting up Anchorage for her spay, so after she’s had a bunch of quality downtime, we are hitting the trails and exploring.

For the 5k we did a race where the proceeds went to helping animal shelters. Myself and both pups earned a race medal, which they are proudly displaying in this photograph!

First Solo Walk!

Today was a beaut of a day, so Tomodachi had her first solo walk. Now, by walk I mean that it wasn’t her going out to the approved relief area and sniffing, but an actual half-Mile of walking. Took us twenty minutes. I didn’t require much of her since she is just four months old, however we are going to start working heavily on her not pulling. I didn’t attach the leash to the ‘no pull’ part of the harness, but her next solo walk I definitely will. We worked on ‘sit,’ ‘stay,’ ‘watch,’ and ‘walk.’ today. She is still learning and I believe will get better much faster if we do solo walks a couple times a week. After her walk, which included skating on the ice rink that is our roads, she and Nakama decided to have a wrestling match on the bed. Clearly he missed her while she was gone, but they both need to get used to being alone at times since training them together all the time will not work.

WoofTrax and AARF

One of the walking applications I use is WoofTrax and with this application, whenever I take a walk I have a chance of a donation going to AARF. I will talk more about AARF later, but this application is great! Imagine waking and possibly earning a monetary donation to a non-profit! As you can see, we don’t walk far since my puppy is still rather young, but we do go out because both she and Naka love our walks.