Friday, March 12, 2010

New Gear for The Puller

Kona and I had a fun hike Yesterday. I took her on her long leash to her Favorite Trail. That dog becomes a different creature when she has room to explore. I had fun watching her spring from one side of the trail to the other. While I didn't get to move as much as I'd like, I'll never complain about sunrise with a happy dog.
We stopped for a bench-side photo shoot. Kona used more energy with extra room to romp and didn't mind sitting for pictures.

Later in the day, I got a package in the mail. I ordered a Canicross Kit from Canadog. Now, Kona has a harness that she can pull in without choking herself. (Everyone now...Hurray!) I also have a waistbelt and line with a bungee to attach Kona to so I can run hands free and spare my inflamed upper body. (This time..Hip-hip, hurray!)

I know, I know, harnesses only encourage pulling. Here's my thought process: I dream of teaching Kona to walk on a loose leash. Unfortunately, I don't think we'll be able to work on that for awhile. The ways I've heard of teaching loose leash walking involve either stopping or turning around when the dog pulls. I'm worried that these methods will stress Kona. She still often whines or paces frantically if I stop on the trail for whatever reason.

For the moment, trail time is still all about Kona exploring, gaining confidence, and continuing to learn to trust me. I won't use the canicross set-up all the time, but, if nothing else, it'll be a good tool for me to use to give my body a rest and still get out running with Kona.

Here's the sled dog!


Sam said...

I totally agree with you RE pulling on walks. Marge does not walk with a completely loose leash, though she is not a strong puller by nature. I've actually come to welcome the slight tug of the leash against my grip, because, to me, it signals that Marge is eager to walk and enjoying herself. If she gets excessive, I tell her "no pull" and she usually complies.

She does have a "with me" command, where she walks at a loose heel and (usually) watches my gaze. Though I use it predominantly in Rally Obedience, I also use it on walks when we need to get past something or squeeze into a smaller space. I taught it by simply holding a treat at my left side and rewarding her for staying next to me. Other people have taught it by teaching a dog to poke their hand (kept at their side) with their nose, with the goal of eventually fading the hand.

Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart said...

Lilly can and often does have a nice loose leash walk (what we call "walk steady" vs a true "heel"), but she can sometimes pull, if she is nervous or excited.

I've never tried a harness of her. If I need her to be calm/confident and not choking herself, then I usually go with a head collar.

I know KB and others use some sort of no-pull harness.

Sara said...

I see no problem using harnesses with dogs. I use them on both my dogs, and both walk quite nicely. I've never found them to encourage pulling.

I know when Oreo starts pulling, that means something is making him nervous and I need to step in and help him.

I think sometimes you need to do what you need to do, regardless of what "experts" my tell you. Only you know what works best for your relationship with your dog.

Personally, I'd rather have my dog pulling on a harness, than choking himself on a collar. Especially when you have a fearful dog, who is prone to pull at times. Why make it worse, by making it physically uncomfortable for them? Just my 2 cents. I'm certainly no expert! LOL.

Sam said...

I forgot to mention that I've actually started using her harness when she is walking on her 20' line. I think it's more comfortable for her and, like you said, eliminates the yanking on the neck when she goes too far out.

Kathy said...

I TOTALLY think to encourage a loose leash you have to be working on it a 100% and you do not want to have to do that all the time, so I use my harness when I can not/or do not want to work on the loose leash thing, then when we are on the flat collar it means we are working on it. When we are on the harness it means please walk nice but I am not going to go dogs do not pull a lot more with the harness.

Sara said...

I went and checked out the canadog website, they have some really cool stuff! Loved the scooters that you could equip with studded snow tires! That made me laugh. Using a scooter in a snowstorm would really get my neighbors talking. How entertaining!

LauraK said...

I've never really tried using a harness with Riley, but I am really hesitant to. She's a puller because she loves to explore and gets really excited- but I feel that since she is part pitbull, the harness would make my life even more miserable. They have all of their power in their chests, so it would be interesting to see how she reacted to one. I really hate when she runs full speed out on the leash though, then whips back- you think they'd learn after years of doing that! There are so many different types of harnesses, so maybe we'll try one sometime. I can see how it would be useful for running though. That canadog website is really cool, thanks for sharing! Beautiful pictures, she's such a pretty girl!

Dawn said...

Ahhh...sunrise and a happy dog....bliss!