Janette Kenny

Learning to heel

I’ve been a bad dog mom regarding Samson’s training. If I knew do-diddlly-squat about training a dog it wouldn’t be a bad thing.

But I know. I went through an extensive dog training class with Bear, my keeshond that I had for 14 years and lost about 2 years ago. She was smart, and trained fairly easy, could do tricks. In fact, ask my cousin Mike who swears Bear was the smartest danged dog he’d seen.

I trained Bear from baby puppy of 16 weeks on, and we bonded and learned together.

Sam is a whole different story.


You all know I got my pound puppy when he was seven months old, and he’d lived in the city pound for a month. Those of you who have visited this pound know what it’s like.

I suspected he’d had the beginning of house breaking because he has only had a couple of accidents. But he’d never been on a lease until I took him from there back in April, and he was a wild thing. Now, this wasn’t such a problem when he was a 45 pound pup. But Samson is getting into adult dog now. He’s close to 60 pounds, I’m sure. That’s enough dog to drag my butt up the sidwalk on a lease.

Unless he’s trained, which he ain’t.

Bad Jan. This is totally my fault, because I spent all my free time getting my first Presents into Mills and Boon on time. Which I did. 🙂

So I started training Samson to heel today. His first lesson was fifteen minutes, and after five minutes of him jerking my shoulder out of the socket, he learned that the collar biting wasn’t fun. And he started to listen to me. My voice commands. My hand commands. And my body language.

At the end of that sesson, Samson was walking beside me like a good boy. He stopped when I stopped, and when I told him sit he sat.

So maybe this won’t be such a chore to train him to the leash. See, I want to take walks with Sam when I get off work–when the weather cools, like my friend Edie Ramer does with her dog Skye. And I’m not about to tolerate getting dragged up the sidewalk by a dog that is beginning to look like a young lion now.

Plus, Samson just needs to learn to heel for his own protection. He needs to trust me to look out for him, like I trust him to be my guard dog and my companion dog.

So, while my friends were off in San Francisco this week, having loads of fun and networking, I did churn out pages on my second Presents for Mills & Boon. And the added bonus of teaching Samson how to be a gentleman in public.

6 comments to “Learning to heel”

  1. Edie
    August 2nd, 2008 at 5:52 pm · Link

    It’s taken me too long to teach Sky to walk correctly, and I know it’s my fault. She was jerking me all over the place. This summer we finally got strict with her and it’s working. Now I wish I would’ve done it long before this.

    You should put more pics of Sam up. He sounds like a sweetie.

  2. Jan
    August 2nd, 2008 at 6:01 pm · Link

    That’s what Sam was doing to me, Edie. He’s just too big and strong to go untrained. What’s funny is that he’s now walking beside me close without a leash, which is what Bear used to do too. So he’s learning. TG! Yep, I need to get some new pictures of him. He’s changed a lot, in a good way, and will change more once all his hair comes in. And you know, he loves to be brushed. Go figure.

  3. Edie
    August 3rd, 2008 at 7:54 am · Link

    What a cutie! Glad you put the picture up. I don’t think Sky will ever learn to walk by our sides without a leash. When she sees another dog or rabbit or turkey (we have wild turkeys and English setters are bird dogs) she tries to run after them.

  4. Jan
    August 3rd, 2008 at 9:06 am · Link

    Well, the court is still out whether Sam will stay put without a leash. He’s got a tremendous amount of energy and way too much curiosity.

  5. kathy H.
    August 3rd, 2008 at 5:58 pm · Link

    Good Job with Sam! He is such a cutie. I wish we had trained Presley better. Unfortunately, he thinks he is a person. Matt says that we just need to let him know who is boss but I think at this point, Presley is the boss!!! I’m glad that I can comment on your blog again. And this heat isn’t fun!!! Glad you are getting lots of writing done, too.

  6. Jan
    August 3rd, 2008 at 7:17 pm · Link

    I’m not sure what Sam thinks he is, but with his size I have to train him to obey. He did good in the house with commands, but there is still too much to distract him outside. But this was only his second session of training too, so crossing fingers he gets it before long. Glad you could comment now too. I think WordPress upgraded something and the no comment button got clicked. The writing is going pretty good today, not so much yesterday.

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