Thursday, July 15, 2010

July 15th The Husky Walk

Walks are almost never tiring for a husky, so in order to tire out Princess, we do some special training while out walking.

Step one is to acquire the 20 to 25 foot or longer leash. 6 foot leads just do not have enough leeway for an energetic, intelligent and curious husky. Put the looped end around your right wrist and pray that your husky does not pull your arm out of its socket. With your left hand, guide or gather the leash when needed.

With this setup Princess and I set out on a walk. She is hyper and ready to go, whining and pulling as hard as she can. For the first three minutes of the walk, I let her have the whole lead (provided there are no traffic or other distractions/dangers) so she can run back and forth, ahead and stop, sniff and catch up then run ahead again. In this manner, she runs about 5 times as far as I walk, she is constantly running, and she has a ball! Intermittently after that, I do 'recall' training, heel training, and mushing commands training. As she weaves back and forth, seeing and investigating all there is, I coordinate her movements with the commands for mushing.

When she veers left, I tell her good "Haw". When she veers right, I tell her good "Gee". When she walks on the left shoulder I tell her good "Haw Over", and right shoulder is "Gee Over". When we stop for an oncoming car I recall her with 'come', tell her haw or gee over and whoa. When she comes to me I praise her greatly and pet her, and sometimes if I have chopped hot dogs on me I give her a treat. Once the car has passed, or she has been randomly recalled, I ask her to heel for a short time, shorten the leash and get her to walk with me for ~20 feet or more. Then I tell her whoah, give her more praise, pettings and a treat, then let her go on the long lead so she can run around some more. If she pulls excessively, I stop and wait for her to look back at me and let slack in the lead. Huskies HATE stopping, so it isn't long before she figures out that in order to keep going forward, she has to slacken up. When she does, she gets more praise and the reward of going forward again.

This is a great game to Princess, and she loves taking walks this way. By the time I've walked two miles, she's run about six, is tired and happy as a clam. Plus, she's been in training and learning commands the whole time. She also loves the time spent with me enjoying the outdoors investigating and playing like a puppy should.

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