How to – with Little Monkey. No1. Exit the House

I suppose you simply switch on the alarm and leave? Let me tell you how it goes with Little Monkey.

First, catch the dog. Little Monkey knows when it is walk time. So she takes the opportunity to hare madly round the garden, rushing up to you every circuit and leaping up to springboard off your body with her feet.

Once I’ve stopped this and got her inside and sitting on her mat, we can progress to the front door. More leaping in the air all four feet off the ground. Sit again. Pick up the lead. Leap. Sit! In the meantime put Mr Spaghetti Leg’s lead on. He is now standing nose to the door ready to go. Finally get the lead on Little Monkey. SIT!

Open the door. Dogs must not move. I get my keys, hat etc Dogs must stay calm, and the Idiot sitting. When I am ready, Little Monkey must look at me, then I nod, and we calmly exit the front door.

Now we face the same procedure at the security gate. Little Moneky knows to instantly sit, and to wait. I unlock the gate, and slowly open it. Dogs must not move. I then close the front door, we calmly exit the security gate and I turn around and lock it. This procedure must happen even if there is a squirrel in the garden, and Little Monkey desperately wants to chase it.

So far so good. We are one metre into our walk.

Next, a slow amble down the garden path. Dogs to the side, No pulling on the lead. Any of that and it is an instant sit and wait all over again. At the little side gate (where there is no gate any more) I go through first. No pulling. Now we are at the garage doors. Little Monkey sits, loose lead, and waits. I let Mr SL stand, since he is old and wobbly and does not pull on the lead anyway.

I open the automatic gate a little. Dogs do not move. When I say so, we walk forward and I go through first (sticking my head out and looking up and down the road for DOGS!). There is a lamp post right outside our house. Instant sit for Little Monkey.

Great! The walk is about to begin. How many sits and stays was that?

This process is repeated throughout the walk. Any time the Idiot freaks out at something, or leaps in the air because she’s seen another dog, I reel her back in, sit her down and pick up my finger that she just broke off – again. The walk can take a very long time. But doing it this way every single time is the only way to calm Little Monkey down. If I mess up just once, and miss a step out, I have to repeat it another thousand times before she does it automatically again.

This could all have been avoided if Little Monkey had been socialised as a puppy.


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