And so, we’ve come to this…

Posted by & filed under the puppy diaries.

I had grand goals for this puppy of mine.  Beginning at 8 weeks old, I started training Columbus not to pull on the leash.  If I could quickly get the idea of pulling out of his mind, walking on the leash would mean walking by my side.  I was diligent!  This was going to work!

Then Columbus got bigger and stronger.  And when he saw something he wanted to go check it out.  It was like I wasn’t there.  Only, as he darted on split second notice, my arm would not come off of my shoulder but it sure felt like it almost did at least a half dozen times.  <Sigh>  It was such a good plan.

So, during basic training I decided to use a halti (another version of a gentle leader, fits on the dogs face like a halter fits on a horse) at the trainer’s suggestion.  She said to just use it when he wasn’t being good.  If he started behaving, take it off him and let him try with just the plain collar.  The halti was a magic tool!  Walks became pleasant.  Taking it off him became less and less as I realized he just was in this puppy exuberance stage that made him dart/pull my arm off with no notice.  I would get back to trying the regular collar when he was out of this stage. And then….

The halti gave him a hot spot.  Not sure why it’s called a hot spot but it began with this little sore around his mouth.  Which turned into a bigger sore.  And then a bigger sore.  The thing was growing and I had stopped using the halti on him when I first noticed the sore so I wasn’t sure why it was growing.  Tracey shaved the fur around it and we treated it and it eventually began to heal.  He still has a tiny little bald spot.  I’m waiting to see if it will heal completely or be a life-long reminder of my failed attempt at training him not to pull.

So, I tried a choke chain.  I think the one I got was too big.  It wasn’t working.  A few weeks ago another trainer gave me a nylon choke chain.  Better, but as he got more used to it started losing it’s effectiveness.  And so, the thing I’ve been putting off has happened.  I bought this collar:

prong collar

This is called a prong collar.  And I just so happened to bump into a person in the dog business who suggested I get one and told me the right way to use it.  You don’t give a correction like you do with a choke chain.  The dog’s pulling gives him the correction, as the prongs tighten on his neck like he is being bitten by his mama. (Maybe this will have a side benefit of training me not to bite my own dog anymore. See previous posts…)

I’ll let you know how it works.  Meanwhile, if anybody looks at me like I’m an insanely cruel person, I am going to point them to this blog and let them read about my adventures with this puppy of mine.  Then, maybe then, they will understand and nod their head in sympathetic approval.  And if, instead, they frown at me, I shall ask them to take my puppy and train him not to pull and then give him back to me.

One Response to “And so, we’ve come to this…”

  1. chris

    Update: it appears this collar is not the miracle I had hoped for. I think it’s just going to be time and repetition and repetition and repetition and repetition and did I say repetition that’s going to get this dog not to pull. I will not let the thought enter into my consciousness that I’m not going to be able to train him out of this.