I’m having trouble keeping my footing at times. It’s nearly impossible to keep the nerves in my back from being inflamed. I do too much just waking up and getting out of bed. So, some life changes are in order and unfortunately, the biggest one involves Lola the Destroyer.
She’s a great dog, but she’s 65 pounds of pure muscle. She pulls like an ox, a habit we have tried and tried to break with little success. Friday night, she hit the end of her leash, not hard, just enough for my feet to come out from under me. I spent two hours trying to decide whether to go to the ER or not (in the end, I went to bed not the hospital).
She’s also spirited and high strung. She has a ton of energy and even more curiosity. I’ve actually fallen twice in the last week because of it.
So, today, we had to make a decision. I had a choice between a cinch harness and a choke collar because she is going to have to learn not to pull. I just can’t handle it when she does. She already has to wear both a collar and a harness anyway, without both, we have to pull the straps so tight they cut into her skin to keep her from wriggling out. We also have to hook both to take her on a walk, she’s very persistent.
In the end, we went with the cinch harness… I just can’t convince myself to put a choke collar on her, no matter how humane they actually are.
And I’ll be damned… It worked. To test it, I took her for a short walk. Normally, she pulls me down the road, fighting me for whatever she wants to go investigate. After the second time of that cinch harness pulling tight, she stopped. She walked at the end of her leash, but she didn’t tug or pull or fight. She kept pace a few feet ahead of me and when I slowed down at one point, she stopped and waited for me. She has never done that.
We’ll keep track of her progress. Hopefully as she gets used to it, she doesn’t start ignoring the squeezing on her ribs. I got the padded rib sides. I have been told they don’t work as well, but I’m not thrilled about the situation and I’m not willing to hook her to one of the metal cinch harnesses or one of the string-ish cinch harnesses. Both look like they would dig into the skin and possibly, injure her ribs.
I know, I’m a softee. I also know that collies are hard to train, not because they don’t learn, but because they have their own very determined will. I joke about her being a mix of the easiest dog to train and the most willful dog – that collie/German Shepherd mix made for a beautiful and wonderful dog, who learns fast, but doesn’t always give a shit that she’s being given a command.
However, in good news, we have been training her at the campground to be off leash, even at night. One of her favorite toys is an LED pointer and I take it to the campground to let her chase it off leash and off chain at night. We live in the city, so she has to be on leash or on chain when we are home.
Two nights ago, I had to go pick up my SO from a bachelor party (we have a nephew getting married). I didn’t want to hook her up and decided to trust her. She went straight to the SUV hatch and waited for me. When I got there, I noticed she was watching a cat… a cat she normally loves to chase. Yet, she was still as could be, waiting to be let into the car. She got in with no issues. We picked up the SO, came home, and when we let her out, she went straight to the front door and waited for us.
Since she had done good the night before and had quickly caught onto the purpose of the cinch harness, I decided to try something new tonight. I left her unhooked, took her outside, turned on her LED pointer, and let her just run and run and run after it. She never once tried to leave the yard, sneak away, chase anything, and even when she got tired of the light, she still stuck close to me.
I think these will all be good things for her and for me.