Day 2 with Pikku the Australian Cattle Dog


This morning we were up bright and early in order to follow the routine of Pikku’s normal home life.   First up breakfast and re-visiting her training on giving me her paw.  Today we tried her to give me her right paw.  Last night we managed her left.   Next stop Jericho Park for our morning outing.  I took my 25ft long line with me so that Pikku had the chance to romp around and feel a slight sense of freedom before she is allowed “off-leash”.  I have found the best long lines to use are the one’s made of nylon webbing.  You can purchase them at any outdoor campling supply store or your local pet store should they supply them.   I bought mine at www.petfoodnmore.com.

I prefer to work with a longer long line, because it is long enough to work real distances but not too long that it has a tendency to get knotted up.  The first step to long line training is to begin taking your dog to various different locations and let him run around with the long line in trail. I have found that with many dogs who have been kept on a tight leash all of their lives, that they grow to see freedom as a scarce commodity. So, the minute that the dog thinks he’s off leash, he bolts and runs away because he feels that such freedom is scarce, so he must take advantage of it when he can. Once you begin letting your dog roam freely, with the long line on, there are two thing that start to happen. First, your dog will begin to forget that he is trailing the long line, so he starts to think he is free, and freedom STOPS becoming such a scarce commodity. Secondly, if he does decide to “take off” on you, you will always be in a position to regain control. (It’s pretty hard for even a really fast dog to get away from you when he’s trailing 25 feet of line!)After our morning walk we went back home for a quick snooze before we headed back out again to pick up the boyz for their afternoon walk/run.  This time we headed down to Kits Beach from 14th Avenue.  So Pikku was exposed to walking on the sidewalks and crossing over busy streets.  Of course we had to cross 4th and Broadway so she was taught to sit at the kerbs and then only permitted to cross when I used the word forward.  I borrowed this word from BC Guide Dogs.  Just love the command.  Once down on the dog beach Pikku was allowed off-leash as I feel its an environment I can control.  My eye is constantly on her and frequently I call her to “come” so that she knows to return to me.  The trick is to let her go again and tell her to “go play” or whatever term you choose to use.  She then learns that coming to me when called does not mean play has ended.  So many times I have seen owners only call their dog to them when they need to leave the park and then when their dog does not come back to them, they get upset and when they finally “catch” the dog again it then receives punishment for not coming.  Try the option of teaching your dog that is “fun” to return to you when called.   Pikku was exposed to a rescue Pugle called Charlie, whom the owner resuced from the BCSPCA in Burnaby, a gorgeous Staffordshire Bull Terrier and Black and White Doodle also called Charlie.  We spent a good 30 mins on the beach allowing Pikku to be socialised with other dogs and returning to me when called.   As we were walking back to 14th Avenue I noticed a Missing Blue Heeler poster.  Dogs name is Buddy and he almost looks the same age as Pikku.  I do not know if the owner has found his dog yet, but I have attached a pic of the poster hereunder and if anyone has seen the puppy there was a number on the poster.  This was not my first missing poster I saw for the day.  There was also a missing Basenji! 

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