We've not been working lately. I ordered the Dave Dikeman Command Performance tapes to see if what I've been doing is correct. Yesterday I watched the first lesson and, I'm pleased to note, I was doing the right thing, although not often enough.
Here are some differences I noted: Training tapes and books never have Chows in them. Well, one book did, as an example of the sort of dog the program was meant for, but he disappeared after Page 1. Chow books have pictures of Chows in them and suggest you train them. Looking at their training ideas tells you that this person has never lived with a Chow. The books written by Chow owners aren't very encouraging.
Lesson 1 is getting the dog's attention. You work with a 15 foot "longe line." By the end of Lesson 1 Dikeman's trainees are trotting right beside him, more or less attached at the hip. By the time Van-Ly and I finished Lesson 1, she was looking at me for the first time in her two-plus years, but she takes as much rope as she can. I don't believe this is a reflection on our relationship because after a month or so, she decided she wanted to be a lap dog. Chows, I explain to her, are too heavy to be lap dogs. Would she like to be a side car?
Today we started again from the beginning. We now have a limited area to work in because our neighbour has had the two adjoining fields plowed. We suspect truffle oaks are going in. Truffle oaks are going in everywhere. However, there is enough room for us in the field behind the house and Van-Ly didn't too too badly after our layoff. But she still takes advantage of the whole 15 feet of line.
My guess is, that unless I divorce my husband and give up cooking, cleaning and reading, there isn't enough time in the world to make her an obedience competitor, and that I may have to be content with whatever improvements will let me walk with her in town. Sigh.
"Bon courage"! say the French.