The Leash Is My Friend

The beginning of a half mile walk to our pet store…

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Leash stayed in his mouth the entire way there…

And back….

We realized that maybe when it brushed against his neck, it is annoying him, and so this is a way to keep it away.

Smart little guy.

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New Leash

A couple of weeks ago, Taryn over at A Tail of Two Cardis had a contest!  She visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and had some trivia questions for folks to answer.  Momma knew that Yasgur Dairy Farm in Bethel, NY was the location of Woodstock and because of that…we won a new leash!  It arrived this week!  Woohoo!!
Now, Taryn, I know this is unorthodox, but Finn, oops Finnackles, likes to inspect her new things before using them, so we spent a few minutes letting her sniff, roll around with and inspecting her new leash!  We know it isn’t a toy, but we didn’t want to scare her when we placed the loop over her head.  When we first tried that, she backed up and whined a little bit, so we let her play.
I should explain, Finnackles also likes to play with my oven mitt, 
so that’s why that is on the floor as well.

  We got in on and tried it out!  Thank you Taryn for our cool new leash!  We love it!

The Leash and the Promise

Finn doesn’t fetch sticks, she chews them.  Oh Finn.
Well, you may have noticed that I have reverted back to using this leash, which has a nice hand grip close to the clasp.  About a month ago, I realized that Finn had no idea of what the heel command meant.  I realized this when she dragged me about twenty feet to attempt to jump on a disabled child getting onto a bus.  There is no excuse for that type of behavior.  
I promised myself and Finn that we would become more controlled during our walks.  And I promised myself I would blog a post about it too, because you have to take the bad with the good, right?  So, for the past month, we have been working on being a better walker on the leash.  I made certain of five simple rules, which I wrote down so that I could remember them every time we walk:
1.  I will leave and come into the the house first, she will follow me.
2.  I will call her to come to me  when I put the leash on.
3.  We will use our key phrase, “Do you want to go for a walkie?”, to signal it’s time to head out.
4.  If I feel her pulling me, I will stop walking and command she stays and sits while I am stopped.
5.  She will not walk ahead of me.  I will reward her when she walks to my side.
I have to say, this past month has been an eye opener.  It took about two weeks to get the command “heel” to work with any sort of regularity, and the only time she really pulls me now is when she sees another dog being walked or when she sniffs out a pile of poopsies left behind by another dog.  Both behaviors I can completely understand, but I am working on getting those to stop too.  We are at a point now where we can walk past people without any pulling, and in general, she isn’t walking in front of me anymore.  I feel so relieved and I am so glad we are at this point!  It’s taken us a while, but we needed to get there.

How Do You Know?

Look at this picture – she looks so unhappy that I put the leash on her.  However, she knows to wait before jumping out of the car until it clicks on.  She knows that when I put it on her and we’re inside, she’s going out.

She’s been coming back to us when we call to her at the dog park.  She’s been following me around at work if I carry a ball or her leash.  She’s been much more mellow at work and not munching on my books.

But, sometimes when we leave the house for our first walk of the day, she’s racing to get out the door, pulling me down the steps.  When I walk her after she’s been home alone for several hours, she is walking me, or so my neighbors say!  She knows “heel” but it’s that initial take-ff that worries me.

So, I wonder, how do you know it’s ok to unleash??  Would it be the worst thing if always walked her with the leash?

SouthHaven County Park

I took a random day off in the middle of the week and decided Finn needed to get out (read: I needed to get out.)  So, we headed down to South Haven County Park; you can find them here.  In 2009, the county’s fine legislators voted to make it dog-friendly.  Thank you!

Our day started out nice enough, and took this picture laughing to myself, “Finn’s definitely on the leash, but I’m not too sure about being under control, but we’re working on that.”
So, off we go for a little walk….
Nice trails   
Big lake
When we got to the lake, I thought Finn would be interested in jumping right in, but she was a little hesitant!  Maybe it’s that slime…
 
She walked around the edges for a while and then gently made her way in.  I think all the quacking and ducks had made her curious.
Well, we continued on our walk, when we encountered…an UNLEASHED DOG.  Now, I am walking little Finn and this dog comes sprinting at us from across what is essentially an RV field.  I scoop up my 35 pound dog and hold her while the owner takes his sweet time walking up to us to get his dog back.  Now, I get it, the other dog wants to sniff and be friends, but in the meantime, he’s climbing all over me, all over my dog, and I am getting really annoyed.  When the owner finally made his way over, I ripped him a new one and we got back in the car.  I mean, c’mon mister!  I was so miffed!  Finn however, was psyched to sniff all things, people, and other doggies new…
so I would probably make my way back there again, but I’ve got my eye out for you Buddy (what I affectionately called the other owner  🙂 … you know who you are!!