Saturday, August 20, 2011

Mighty Malcolm and the Freedom No Pull Harness

I know he doesn't look that big.  But Boxers are all muscle;  not an ounce of fat......just like me!  (insert a lot of laughter)  Also, since they have such a big chest, they have a lot to pull with.  I swear, I nearly lost a thumb the other night in agility when the leash got wrapped around it and Malcolm decided to go another way than what I expected.  If he wants to pull toward another dog, believe me, he will.  And I with all my body weight and every ounce of strength and every bleepin' command in the book - and some not in the book- can just barely stop him.  

So I've been talking about this book I've been reading;  Feisty Fido: Help for the Leash Reactive Dog.
Feisty Fido: Help for the Leash-Reactive Dog
Just look at that mug!  It could be Malcolm!  Yes, it will take a while for her methods to work.  But I've been working on "LOOK" and it's starting to really take effect as long as I have chicken.  No chicken, sadly, no look.  Not yet.  She also suggested that I get one of two harnesses that can be a good tool in teaching a dog not to pull.  One was the Easy Walk and the other was the Sense-ation.  So I went on line and started looking around. I found the two she suggested on Amazon.  I wanted to see if there was anything new out there so I googled NO PULL HARNESS and found the Freedom.
I actually liked this one because it has velvet sewn over the strap underneath the legs to help prevent chaffing.  Yes.  Besides no fat on a Boxer, they also have very little hair and beautiful pink and tender skin.  So...this is the one I ordered.  It's pretty cool because it has a sort of double leash.  It hooks to the back of the harness where it works like a Martingale Collar around the heafty chest area and, at the same time, it hooks to the front of the chest so that you can guide the pulling dog back to you with your 'LOOK' command.  

OK.  So I researched for a couple of days, then I contacted the website to make sure of the fit, because I didn't really like their return policy.  So another couple of days went by and I finally ordered it, then waited for it to arrive.  Several days later, voila.  It came priority mail.  It was perfect and very easy to use.  It fits to a 'T' and as confusing as harnesses are to me, this one got put on right the first time.  So yeah!  Let's go for a walk and find a dog.

We walked around the corner and up the block that evening, but couldn't find any dogs.  We waited til the next morning and I slipped the harness on him for his morning bike ride.  But wait.  We don't just go.....we have to go potty once more before we can take off.  Otherwise, he's like a horse in the street if you get my drift.  So I'm out in the front yard just waiting and encouraging it to happen when low and behold, Malcolm's Nemesis walks by. Two nemesis(es) ?????  Every time he sees these two labs, it's a pulling, tugging, growling nightmare.  I'm prepared.  We have the harness.  We've practiced 'LOOK' and I have bits of chicken in my treat pouch.  I'm now just greeting my neighbor and waiting for the inevitable.  So she stops to tell me about her operation.  
Wait.  What?  Really?  She stops?  With the dogs?  We're talking?  Like adults?

What's wrong with Malcolm?  Is he sick?  Is he dead?  Has he gone blind?  Is something stuck up his sniffer?

My dog is sitting, looking at me and waiting for chicken.  He is not pulling.  He is not moving.  He is looking between the to dogs and me.  Back and forth, like a tennis tournament.  All is calm.  All is bright?  Hold on here!  I paid money for this harness!  I want to use it!  Pull, durnit!  No luck.  He just sat there.  So we take care of our business and go on our bike ride with no excitement to report.  We ran into our neighbor and her two labs again in front of her house and she asked if she could come and pet Malcolm.  I stopped and Malcolm sat (pretty wiggly) and waited to be loved on.  He again did not try to pull toward the two dogs in her yard.

It happened again this morning with a different dog.  Harness on.  No pulling.  No correcting.  What's up with that?
I haven't gotten to really use it yet.  But I guess he knows I mean business.  I'll give him some more challenges in the future and we'll keep working, but between the harness and the squirt bottle and the chicken, I think we're winning the battle.

Just as an 'aside' the other handlers in Malcolm's agility class were calling him 'awsome' and 'very cool dog', last Wed.  He went through the chute (a closed tunnel) for the first time on his own and you should have seen the light bulb that turned on in his head.  He was so prancy and proud.  There was no stopping him.  I think my child is growing up and he's making me so proud.

1 comment:

Alexandra Vitug said...

Hi, would you say that the freedom harness is better than the senseation harness? ive been trying to decide between the two. thanks!