We reverted to our normal walk today: a short stretch down the road and a sidestep to the right to gain the path along the river. And we went with Nick and Nala.
First, we sat at the gate. We sat for the usual ever, trying to get Nala to understand that sit does not mean touch your bum to the ground and pop right back up. Nick opened the gate, said "Voila!" to Nala and off they went. Van-Ly did not move. Is this a wonderful Chow or what? She didn't move until I said, "Voila."
We walked down the road and -- this is a true miracle -- as a car came up behind us, Van-Ly moved to my right (the inside) and stayed next to me. I didn't even have to ask.
She's still not with me all the time, though. I had to step on the line twice because she was getting too far ahead of me, maybe to catch Nala, maybe just because I don't walk all that fast. That was on the road.
On the path, she got several running jerks. On the last one, I looked back, which I normally don't do, and saw that I had jerked her off her front feet. No doubt I've been doing this without realising it. At least I won't feel so bad about the heeling routine, should we ever get that far.
In the middle of the walk, I took her to the entrance of the field where she normally runs and sniffs, took her collar off, and said, "Voila"! The poor thing never gets to run and sniff, so I thought if I took her training collar off, she'd be able to distinguish play from work. Seemed to work.
At this point, I'm becoming confused. Was letting her play O.K.? Is the fact that we can't train every day a big problem? Should she be more advanced? Should I be grateful she's this far advanced, being a Chow and all?
She's infinitely better behaved since we started all this. If I just wanted loose lead walking and stopping when I stop, we'd be there. Somehow, I suspect this isn't good enough.
My inclination is to continue this walk and the walk we did yesterday until she is always looking at me. I think she needs to be absolutely perfect before trying the big test: town.