I arrived at Batty's house and waited for his owner and Batty to come out. I waited about 10 feet from the garage door and in a place where I could watch Batty's behavior and body language as he came out. As he did, I saw a tail wag and Batty continued toward me in a calm state. It was time for the first walk/training to begin.
When we first started, he was pulling and very distracted by his surroundings. He is a very strong willed dog and I also saw insecurity in him. He is always “on guard”. He is always alert to things around him, turning and staring at any noise he heard. It was difficult to get him to walk in a straight line. He must have walked circles around me a dozen times. Each time I tried to walk forward he immediately started pulling on the leash.
My goal in walking Batty or any dog is not to have tension on the leash. If there is tension, the dog is in an excited behavior and I want him calm and following my lead. So, we did a lot of starting and stopping, with me waiting until he relaxed a little and then would move forward. We made it around to the end of the street after about 15 minutes. At this point a tractor trailer when by and Batty became very nervous. I kept walking in circles with him, watching for traffic and finally just sitting on the ground and working with him to relax. We sat there for about 5 minutes, then began to walk back. He still wanted to pull, so I continued with starting and stopping and waiting for him to calm down.
Batty began walking much better, occasionally he would get excited and begin to pull but was much quicker to calm when we stopped and waited for him to relax.
Our second walk/training began with Batty coming out and came for a greeting. As I stood talking with his owner, Batty wanted to do his own thing, trying to pull me whatever direction he wanted to go. I want Batty to be calm and looking to me for direction at all times. Any time I was talking and he tried to pull me away, I corrected and asked him to sit. He is a very smart dog and is beginning to respond to my direction.
We began our walk and Batty is doing much better. We are walking in a straight line and not fighting to take me in circles. I allow Batty to stop and sniff, moving him along to keep the idea in his mind that I am in control. The walk to the end of his street went much faster than his first walk. Again as traffic approached, Batty's anxiety went up. We took this opportunity to stay further away from the traffic and allowing Batty to watch the cars and truck and begin to realize that the traffic was not a bad thing.
We made our way to a quiet development behind his house and continued our walk. Batty was doing well, still wanting to take control but surrendering when I would stop and wait. As we were walking through the development, I saw a small dog laying in her front yard. I looked to see if Batty had noticed and kept myself between the other dog and Batty. This is a way that I am trying to communicate to Batty that I am in control and will handle the situation. As we got closer, the other dog began barking and running toward us. I stopped and waited checking Batty and keeping an eye on the other dog. She was not aggressive, just excited that there was another dog and human near her property. Her owner came out to correct but the dog was already out of the yard and coming down the street toward us. I stayed calm and where I was, waiting for the owner to claim her dog as the owner came out, her other dog bolted out of the door and ran toward the excitement. I looked at Batty and he stood and watched, having no reaction at all and looked up at me. I praised him for being a good boy.
The other dog's owner asked if Batty was friendly, I told her that I was just beginning training with Batty and he was good with me but I was not certain how he would be with a stranger. She was respectful and talked to Batty but made no move toward him. I appreciate when someone asks but also respects me enough not to push and try and pet a dog that they do not know.
Batty and I continued on our walk and circled back to his home. Batty did extremely well and I am very proud of how he is responding to me. It is a slow progress but one that is well worth the effort. Batty deserves more than what he has had before and I am grateful that his owner saw the need and stepped up to give him a good home.