double dog walk in the park
When McMuffin first arrived at The Ranch it was clear that she needed some work learning how to properly walk on a leash. She envisioned herself as a sled dog in training and wanted to use every opportunity to perfect her trade. Unfortunately for her, foster mom and dad had no interest in preparing for the Iditarod.
Because her neck is fatter than her head, we figured out pretty quickly that a standard collar was too easy for her to back out of. Our first attempt was to try a Martingale collar which served it’s purpose of keeping her from slipping out when walking on a leash, but was virtually useless in deterring pulling. After speaking with a trainer and observing some other pups in obedience class, we gave the Freedom harness a try. I have to say I was originally impressed with the design and sturdiness of the collar. McMuffin liked the harness too … it had soft padding in all the right places and fit just right … perfect for Iditarod training! Despite every effort to make the harness work, we just couldn’t get everyone on the same page. Not every tool works for every dog and all dogs are different, so please don’t take this to mean you shouldn’t try the Freedom harness for your perfect pups in training …
Next up, the gentle leader head collar. We followed the directions to properly introduce McMuffin to the strange feeling of the collar and totally lucked out that she had no objections to it. While she still pulls a little bit here and there (especially when there are fun distractions like other dogs around), we have found it to be a great tool to help us get closer to loose leash walking with a Martingale collar (the ultimate goal). One thing we did notice was that the strap that goes across her nose was rubbing off the fur under her eyes. A few minutes on Google and off we went to CVS to pick up some moleskin to minimize the skin rubbing. $1.75 later, her hair has completely grown back and we have no more uncomfortable rubbing!
But what is the best part about finding a tool that allows us to take “non-training mode” walks while still discouraging dog sled pulling behavior … being able to walk two dogs at the same time!
It’s really been a pleasure to take them out together. Additionally, it has helped McMuffin start to learn how to chill when other dogs are walking by because Reese emits his chill-out-dude-other-dogs-walking-by-ain’t-no-thang vibes.