Sunday, January 18, 2009

These paws are made for walking, and that's just what they'll do

I woke up at 8 AM, and the house was silent. No one was barking. No one was awake. "I will just check my email," I thought, "and then take Polly and Finley for a walk while Screamy McScreamyDog is sleeping up in the bedroom."

And then the cat peed in the corner of the dining room. And I was annoyed, but that's just how that little jerk is. And then the the kid woke up, and I heard crying from the bedroom, and ScreamyDog came downstairs, and I abandoned my plans of walking the dogs unnoticed. And then the cat had diarrhea in the corner of the dining room. ALL OVER THE PLACE. WHILE I WAS PICKING HIM UP.

Well, so much for my peaceful morning.

But then Mr HusbandDude cleaned up the poop (I am a horrible person to make him do this, yes, but I was too upset with the cat to do it myself) and my brother made me some coffee (awwwwww), and we took Polly and Finley out for a walk around the neighborhood.

I bought a Halti the other day. My husband has bugging me to get one for years, but I have an irrational prejudice against them. I haven't used them, I don't know anything about them, really, but I don't want to use one. Bro's dog uses a Halti and they love it, and Mr HusbandDude took Finley out on it and he loved it too. They were on sale so I finally gave in and bought one, to give it an honest try.

Eh. Maybe I was just looking for confirmation for my prejudices, but I don't care for it much. Finley can pull, and he can pull hard, and he needs constant reminding not to dash off hither and thither -- but when you reward him for remaining in the right position, he is incredibly reliable about it. If you don't reward often enough, he starts drifting away. It's frustrating when you just want to go out for a walk, and you don't want to have your arm yanked out by a dog or to deal with training the whole time. However, unless we work on loose-leash walking and training, he pulls on the Halti as hard as he pulls on his buckle or martingale collars. (Mr HusbandDude was very disappointed and noted, "He's learned to pull on the Halti." Then he made a sad face.) Fin clearly finds it annoying to have webbing on his face, but the presence of the Halti doesn't give him an idea of what I want him to do instead of pulling, so he just keeps pullling. It's not a training shortcut that works for him, so what's the point of bugging him with it?

Plus, people think it's a muzzle, and that doesn't send the right message.

In other news, we passed another dog on the road. Finley was like, "OMG! There's another dog over there! I have to go check it out!" and he got mildly reactive and agitated. Polly, the dog who when I first got her couldn't see other dogs a block away without flipping out, looked at it, shrugged her shoulders, and kept on walking. Same thing happened when we walked past a yard with three or four barking dogs in it. Finley wanted to go check it out, and Polly didn't care at all. Hooray for the Look at That game! Hooray for training class!

(Can I take a moment to plug this book again? Because it is FANTASTIC. Wish it had been out 5.5 years ago when I found Pol. )

I don't really know how to end this entry. I am trying to think of a neat and clever summation, but nothing is coming, so I guess I'll just stop typing. Rather abrupt, lacking in style. I give this conclusion a D-.


monica.irwin said...

I am enjoying your blog - it's very entertaining. I am interested in getting the book you recommend - I have a very reactive little sheltie mix who is also fear agressive - it's challenging walking him & my other two dogs. He gets them all wound up. Just wondering if it is available in bookstores or only online? Thanks for your help.

finleythedog said...

Hi Monica! I'm not sure whether any of the big chain stores carry the book. I'm sure they could special order it for you, if you asked. I bought my copy at the Clean Run website:

Thanks for your compliment. It's nice to know that people out there are reading my nonsense. :)