Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Dip In the Pond

Nothing says spring has sprung like a wet hound dog. On a recent walk past a nearby pond Jack decided to investigate a turtle basking in the sun on a log near shore (you can see in this photo that the turtle is long gone, poor thing, Jack only wanted to sniff it...).

Along with scaring off the turtle he made me realize I am going to have to be brave and try out the longer, retractable leash so that I don't end up taking a dip along with the dog. I'm the sort of person who actually reads the instruction manual that comes with the leash so I learned all about how dangerous it can be to use a retractable leash on a dog that is not under control. That's when a relative loaned me a "pinch" collar to help me train Jack to heel. Last night I watched an episode of It's Me Or the Dog and Victoria was specifically stating how cruel these collars are and that they should not be used. Yikes. Poor Jack. I feel like an abusive parent. Now my new worry is that I have been cruel to use the pinch collar to help train him to walk on the retractable leash! This dog training stuff seemed a lot simpler when my parents were doing it and I was seven years old.


  1. Pinch collars are only for temporary use anyway. My dog trainer told me that pinch collars are actually more humane because they stop the dog faster than a choke collar or a leather/fabric collar. I think they look worse than they are. I used one on Clarence, my German Shepherd, and it worked very well and I didn't have to use it for very long. Retractable leashes scare me, too. It seems that when you retract the leash, you are pulling yourself toward the dog rather than vice versa. There's a kind of lead that my friends use for their rambunctious dog. I think it's called a Gentle Leader, and it fastens around the dog's muzzle. It supposedly keeps the dog from pulling as much. But, I am no expert on disciplining a large dog. I took Clarence to dog training class, but after that I was a very permissive dog parent. He knew the behaviors but he only did them when he chose to, and I didn't enforce it. I liked him to have free will. My current dog, Cosmo, is little and is absolutely the Alpha Dog in our family. My opinion counts for nothing with him.

  2. Thanks for the tips. I got brave for about a week and walked Jack on the retractable leash. It worked really well until one evening when a neighbor was walking a new puppy and Jack was so excited to go see the pup that he would NOT heel and he actually snapped the leash. Fortunately, I was using the leash as instructed with the little extra collar that you hook through along with the dog's collar...sounds confusing but it is vital. It is designed for just this situation so that if the dog snapped the lead it can't rebound back and hit the human in the face. I'll look for this Gentle Leader thing next. Let's face it, I just don't have much authority. Got to work on my pack leader mentality when really I just want to sit watch the goof ball run around. For his own sake I must be firmer than that. We should have gotten a toy poodle!