Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Dear Doodlebug: My Mom's More Fun Than Dirt!

Hi guys!  Athena here.  If you follow me on Facebook, then you probably saw last week that I requested the very intelligent advices of Sir Doodlebug of Love and a Six-Foot Leash to help me with a very important matter.  He responded ever so wisely to the following question:

Dearest Doodlebug, I think “going on a walk” actually means “go on a sniffing adventure.”  We live in the city, so there are lots of stop signs, mailboxes, bushes, trees, stairs, buildings, and other smelly landmarks. Once my nose is in full sniff, my mom has a really hard time to get my brain to focus on her.  I am wondering if you have any advices on how to help me to keep my nose out of the bushes and focused on my mom. Love, Athena from Pitlandia

Look at my past-self here in full sniff

Basically, I LOVE to go on walks, but only because it involves stopping every 10 seconds to sniff.  There have been many times where my mom has almost fallen right on top of me when I've ran in front of her to get my nose to some smelly stuff.  She was getting quite irritated and threatened to never take me on a walk again! I figured that I better ask the smartest dog I know what to do, and he responded ever so wisely last week on his blog.

In a nutshell, here's the training plan that Doodlebug laid out for me and my mom:
  • My mom must always be "More Fun Than Dirt!"during each and every walk which means...
    • She must bring all her funs!
    • She must bring Athena's favoritist treats
    • She must be in her BESTEST mood
    • She must have her lovely petting hands ready and available
    • She must show her prize winning pearly whites
    • She must have her ninja-fast reflexes ready to reward!

And these are Doodlebug's very strict instructions for implementation:
  • Start with mastering short distances and then move on to the hard stuff...
    • Thean gives full attentions up and down the driveway
    • Thean gives full attentions up and down the street
    • Thean gives full attentions around the block
    • Thean gives full attentions around the neighborhood
    • Thean gives full attentions in new locations

So, how's the training going you ask?:

EXCELLENT!  My mom is no longer threatening to cancel my walks.  We have gone on a very fun and exciting walk every-single-day since receiving Doodlebug's brilliant advices!  Who knew my mom could be so fun!  She definitely brings all of the good stuff like chopped up beef roll, her special praising voice, and her mega fast reflexes.  I mastered the driveway in no time at all and am already taking 30 minute walks around the neighborhood.  My mom says she'd like to report that I've only had two sniffing attacks during all of our training time and they were both her fault because her ninja reflexes weren't working correctly.  I seriously think that my mom is now way more exciting than any ole' smelly pole!

Clickity, click:

My mom has also been bringing her handy dandy clicker along on all of our walks.  She usually just pulls this out for our trick training (OMG did you see that I learned how to roll over yesterday?!), but now she brings it on walks so that I know exactly what I'm doing to earn the yummy food.  I get a click for walking right beside her (no pulling), giving eye contact (not scoping out my next sniffing location),  "leaving it" (if I get tempted to check something out without permission), and for just being the bestest Thean Bean that I can be!

Ok, ok, we do some trick training on our walks too!

Presentation of my progress:

Here's a little video showing my new and improved walking skills.  Midway through the video you'll notice a very long stretch of grass and trees on my left.  This is the prime potty location for the many doggies that live in the nearby apartment complex.  There was once a time when my mom couldn't get my nose out of that grass.  Well, look at me now!  Not once did I stop for a sniff.  I'd say that makes my mom More Fun Than Dirt!

Thanks for your assistance with this matter, Doodlebug.  I advise all of my doggie friends out there to submit your pressing questions to be answered in an upcoming Dear Doodlebug column!


  1. Way to go, Thean! Hey, what leash and harness are you using in that picture?

    1. That's the Freedom No-Pull Harness & leash! We got it a while ago and have been using it for walks/jogging. I've been meaning to do a post about it, so I should probably do that soon! We finally found something that doesn't make Athena's armpits bleed...and I like it better than her head harnesses.

    2. P.S.- We read all about the greatness of the Freedom harness in one of Doodlebug's previous columns:

  2. Great job, Thean Bean! I think I might need to employ these tricks with the Moby man, who is, unfortunately, not so great on the leash (he thinks he is a sled dog and tries to drag me down the street at lightning fast speeds!

    1. Oh, we know the feeling! For a while there Athena thought she was a professional weight pulling dog. It sounds like her and Moby would be up to no good if the two of them ever got together!

    2. Eddie wants to be a pulling dog too. We've been doing lots of turnarounds lately! Athena looks like she's doing such a good job of ignoring all the smells.

  3. This is AWESOME!!! Good for you being such a great dog mamma!!! Keep up the hard work!

  4. Good for you and The Mom too! So glad you r walks didn't get cancelled.

    Our blind girls are champion sniffers on leash walks. Sometimes it seems to take forever to go ten feet!

  5. Great post - I saw the question you asked Doodlebug, so it is great to come over here and see how it worked out for you. Love that you are using the clicker - I have only just discovered clicker training and have started using it with Star in our walks. I am glad to see you find it useful.

  6. Good job! The sniffs are so hard to overcome:)