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Monday, March 25, 2013

SOMEONE HELP ME WALK MY DOGS!!

After what I thought was a good walk with Brut, I woke up the next day with the right side of my neck, shoulder blade, all the way to my lower back and hips screaming in pain. And it wasn't just because of Brut, it was an accumulation of all the dogs.  I'd had enough.  It took several days to heal from what felt all my back muscles being pulled through my arm and I decided to invest in my resting time from walking the dogs wisely.  Training them to put on and use the E-Z Walk Harness that my wonderful friend Pamela suggested.  She had mentioned it before but I wasn't sure a harness would work for the dogs because they pull sleds.  But I was willing to do about anything at this point.  As much as it was hurting my body to walk the dogs it was nothing compared to the mental torture I was going through being pulled by them.

So far it is working great.  

I've tried it with Fiona, Zappa and Chance.  My easy pullers.  I have yet to try it on Brut and Blaze uses a Halti-like head halter already and is pretty skittish about the harness right now, so I'm waiting with her.  And Silver doesn't need one.  

I've always used a clicker method that you stop when the dog pulls, wait until the dog looks at you and then continue on, repeating as you go.  Well I've done this, though not so greatly, with Brut since he was young.  Six years of trying the same thing and getting same results.  See I always hated stopping and stopping and stopping that I would just give up and give in.  It drove me crazy.  And I was trying this method on Fiona with the harness and she finally sat down, looking exasperated.  She sat for about five to ten minutes before we heading home.  Somewhere in the pause, I realized to let the harness work for me.  It is suppose to turn your dog and many of you have told me to keep turning your dog and they will learn to follow you, so that's what I did.  And it's working.  I'd much rather walk in circles and back and forth than constantly stop every two steps.  And I think the dogs like it too.  On that same walk I took Fiona back out on the road after her long stop turning this way and that and she was walking next to me in minutes!  

My biggest problem is that I'm so used to having tension on the leash I don't realize it soon enough.  But I am trying my best to be more aware of the strained leash and more importantly I remember how sore I was after that last walk with Brut and how I don't want to be there again.  

So for now Brut is getting his walks from Daddy as with the rest of the dogs where they can walk any which way they want.  But when they come with me, we get to use the harness.  And so far, we're having a pretty good time.

This post is dedicate to Pamela from Something Wagging This Way Comes, who suggested I try this and it had helped her with her dog Shadow.  Thanks so much Pamela.  Maybe this time will be the time!  


9 comments:

Jeanne Pursell said...

Hope you find something that works for you...it is not fun if you end up in pain!
Xoxo Chloe and LadyBug

Molly The Wally said...

We hope it will work for you. Being in pain is not fun at all. Rest up. Have a marvelous Monday.
Best wishes Molly

Sam said...

For a Golden, Sam would have made an awesome sled dog. He used to rip the skin off my hand and I would hurt. No amount of training seemed to make a difference. We started with a Halti head collar and were finally able to walk him and when he settled with that, I switched him to one of those Gentle Leaders. Huge difference! Good luck - I know how frustrating it is to walk pulling dogs!

Sam

Pamela said...

I'm sorry to hear you're in pain. But I hope the harness continues to work for you. Yay!

I could not have walked Shadow without it. I kept getting injured.

Best of all, since it's a management tool instead of a training tool, it shouldn't take away the pulling urge you want when the dogs are in their sled harnesses.

Golden Woofs! SUGAR said...

Woof! Woof! It's exactly the same harness pattern my mom made by harness. Since the nylon material bothers me made it w/ cotton webbing n fabrics. You might have seen it on some of my blog photos. Yes, it is very gentle and safer neck/back. I had my harness since I was 5 years old. Just needs patience ... it will work. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

houndstooth said...

I had a feeling that harness would work for you. I'm glad to hear you gave it a try!

Saved by Dogs said...

Good luck! I have two that tend to pull, one uses a Halt harness, the other a Halt head-stall. I found it interesting that each needed something a little different.

Siku Marie, White Dog said...

We have heard great results with that harness. When walking a blind dog it is critical that he not pull stay loose leash and follow your commands instead of leading...the turning and turning technique has worked perfectly on him and now he is Steve's partner on his morning jogs! We think you will be amazed at the success you can make with combining the harness and turning. Good luck!

Emily said...

That harness didn't work well for any strong puller we've had. I should try it with Braylon.
I never thought of Braylon as being a puller until I started walking my dog sitting clients. Her dogs actually walk loose leash! I was walking and it just hit me, like wow, Braylon is really only good on a leash compared to Hades!
Glad you've had success with it!