Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Train to Maintain: The Murphy Syndrome

Oh Murphy. You know I love you - but really - we need to get our act in gear sometimes.

April 27th - Murph STILL in a cone.
Murphy - my "purely positive" dog, Murphy - my CDX dog, Murphy - my canine good citizen and therapy dog. Yes, THAT Murphy can no longer walk nicely on a leash.

Murphy doesn't get a lot of training time - my mistake - my fault. Murphy can walk beautifully on a 6' leash and on a flexi - usually on his comfortflex harness. He walks equally well on a buckle collar or a slip-lead as well. He (generally) stops when I stop and starts when I start. I no longer ask him to heel and I don't expect a halt-sit. So 99% of what Murphy needs to do on a day to day or week to week basis is what he does really well.

Now that he's retired from competition though he doesn't often have to navigate the world on a tight or short leash. He almost never has a slip lead on anymore and plus, he never liked the 'conformation' type placement of a slip lead (high and under the jaw) anyway...

Enter surgery for a mass removal and Murphy HAVING to be on a very short leash for all outings. Murphy on a short leash out for business - Murphy on a tight short leash to keep him from over flexing, bouncing and popping his stitches. It has been a disaster - an unmitigated disaster! On a short leash Murphy went sideways, perpendicular to forward momentum and on at least a couple of occasions: backwards. Murphy bounced, Murphy flailed and Murphy tantrumed...He was very much like a foal learning to walk on a lead after simply following momma for a few weeks. 

So Murphy - once he's fully healed - is going back to school. Behaviors I've taken for granted weren't there when I needed them. My fault - lesson learned. Keep training, keep maintaining. Prevent the Murphy Syndrome!

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