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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Walk this way?

Before I get to the topic, I have to blame you for the toys purchased last night. The furgirls are now Wubba fans, although they've already chewed off the little seam at the tippy-top. I'm still looking for a nearly indestructible, not rock-hard toy for Sissy, who loves chewing up plastic (think yogurt cups) and cardboard more than anything in the world.

Now, I'm also curious about how you and your pack walk, especially on leashes. Growing up, I had this saint of a lab. She was trained to a choke collar (the favored method of the era), and once her puppyhood was behind her, she never pulled again. My boy dogs were another story, and before their deaths, I think we owned at least one of every single style of harness out there. Fred preferred a roman harness, and Mugsy needed a step-in, to reduce the pressure on his collapsed trachea.

And yes, we're a Lupine family, thanks to Nichole's nudges and Sissy's need to gnaw Gretchen's first harness off of her the second time Gretchen wore it. Love that guarantee. Pet Expectations has a special relationship with Lupine, so it's a great resource too!

With Sissy came all kinds of challenges, and our basic obedience instructor introduced us to the Easy Walker. It's the only way the girl will lead without jerking and pulling and generally being annoying. Gretchen did well with a collar only up until a few weeks ago (around 10 months if it matters?) and I bought her first Easy Walker last night too.

We also use retractable leashes when we're not training. For training, I use Lupine 4' leashes with the comfort handle. And in case you're wondering, Sissy is a 45 lb., 21 month old basset, and Gretchen is a petite 12 lb., almost 11 month old Jack Russell Terrier.


  1. I love Lupine!!! I have so many sets of collars and leashes:)
    All NEADS Service Dogs in Training have to use a Gentle Leader Head-collar when they get to a certain age. I actually don't know of any service or guide dog orgs. that don't either require you to use a head collar or recommend that you do. Gentle Leaders give you a lot of control, and it is really gentle on the dog's necks. With flat collars, if they pull too hard they can damage themselves.
    I find they work really well, though a lot of the dogs don't like them and itch their nose on you if they're allowed. It takes a lot of careful training for most dogs to be comfortable with them.

  2. I, too, love Lupine! Sunny's collar and her walking harness are Lupine. We walk all our dogs in harnesses most of the time. The only exception is when I walk both goldens alone. Their weight combined + their strength (if they decide to go chase a rabbit or squirrel,) leave me at a major disadvantage. Those times, I do put a pinch collar on Jackson, my strong ox. Because we do competition obedience, our dogs are well trained early on to voice commands. That makes it safe for us to use harnesses combined with flexi's. Flexi's give them the freedom to romp a bit, but with enough control to get them back to heel and out of trouble quickly.
    If I didn't have dogs trained for competiton obedience I highly recommend the Easy Walker. When we teach puppy and basic obedience classes, we recommend them highly to teach dogs not to pull. I am not a big fan of the Gentle Leader now that the Easy Walker has become available.
    Most important is not to walk a dog with a flat collar or improperly fitting pinch/prong or choke collar. Far too many people use the pinch collar that is improperly fit to the dog and allow the dog to continue to pull causing the dog to either get injured or see the pinch as nagging.
    No matter what method one chooses, as Ellie's mom said, careful training is the key.
    I'll get off my soap box now before you guys ban me from this blog. :-)

  3. Ban you, no way! We want everybody's opinions. We use Easy Walkers with the strong pullers, Morgan and Samba. It makes walks much more pleasant.

  4. Harnesses are a must in our household... my favorite is Planet Dog's Cozy Hemp Harness, which Sophie wears 24/7.

  5. As for toys - check out those Hard Boiled Softies that I got Zeus & Lola for their bdays...


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