We are getting Chelsea, our pet Bichon Frise, ready for life on the road with us. We visited the vet to get her shots up to date for her protection and the welfare of other pets she will meet as we travel. The RV resort we have booked for the coming winter requires a pet’s immunization record for their files.
All thirteen years of Chelsea’s life on earth she has enjoyed the use of a dog door that allows her to come and go as she pleases. It opens into our spacious backyard. When we travel in our soon-to-be-found-and-purchased motor home, she won’t have her dog door any longer.
I am training Chelsea how to walk politely on a leash via a technique I found on the Internet. The goal is to get her to walk beside me without running ahead and trying to drag me at her speed. I stop in my tracks whenever Chelsea pulls on the leash. As soon as she stops pulling, I begin walking again. She is an enthusiastic girl, so being the lead dog on an Alaskan sled team appeals to her more than keeping pace alongside me.
Chelsea’s inclination each time I stopped was to pull harder and lunge forward. I explained, “Chelsea, dear, stop pulling.” She didn’t get it. However, by repeatedly getting the result she wanted only by waiting for me to start again, she learned to wait for me to begin. She quit trying to make it happen by pulling. I don’t think Chelsea understands that her pulling makes me stop, but she knows if I stop, she must stop, too. She forgets what she has learned from time to time, but a brief return to the same pattern refreshes her memory. We are a team.