Thursday, October 07, 2010

A new leash

I bought Choco a new leash. Choco is hard on leashes. And she is hard on my joints and back!

When Choco joined our family 5 years ago, she was uncontrollable. She loved Tetsu and me, she seemed eager to please, but she didn't like people and children in general. She thought cats might be good food. She regularly slipped her collar and went off into the wilds of the forest. She thought it was a great game to be chased here and there around the neighborhood dodging her pursuers. She barked continually at birds and passersby. She yanked and pulled when being taken for a walk. During the first week of bringing her home (yes, she was a stray I picked up) I seriously thought of taking her to the pound because she was more than we'd bargained for... The craziness with children was especially unforgivable and I asked a seeing-eye dog trainer friend to give me advice.

The trainer's opinion was that Choco was a smart dog but had been abused (which we found out was true) and was scared of everything. He came out a couple of times to help me with the barking problem, which didn't get solved.

Later I hired a young woman who trained police dogs and she came out three or four times and helped me with some of our more dire problems. Lunging at children and cats. Incessant barking, Pulling on walks. The trainer's theory is that there are no bad dogs, only bad dog owners. If I could be consistent with training and praise, then Choco would learn to obey.

I haven't asked the trainer back in the last couple of years because I have obviously failed my dog owner training. As I write this I wonder what we have accomplished... And how much of it is because of training and how much is just the passing of time.

Choco still barks continually. Her area is now as far from the neighbors as possible and Tetsu built a fence so that she can't bark at people going by.

Choco still hates people and children. She goes crazy if she hears them in the house. I am very careful to keep her tied up and outside when visitors come. She has learned to accept a few regulars but HATES strangers and children. I don't THINK she'd really do them injury but I'm not testing her.

Choco hasn't had a chance to escape for awhile so I don't know if she would come back if we called or not. She usually wears two collars so that she can't slip both of them and she has a chain collar when we go for a walk.

Choco HAS learned to live with cats!!! This is a biggie!!! I used to fear for my cats' lives but they can all wander around each other and touch noses and live in relative peace. Choco doesn't look relaxed but she backs up when a cat insists on its way. Chip is especially strict with Choco.

"Hiss! Spit! You vile canine! I despise you! Stand guard! I challenge you to a dual and beware, my claws are sharp and I am quick." Choco hides in a corner when Chip is near.

And going for a walk has never improved. A longer, leather leash was purchased from the trainer but last month it snapped and I needed a new one.

So this is what I bought. A reel leash. Good and bad.

  • Bad. This leash means Choco gets no training. She can go where she pleases.
  • Bad. This doesn't look very sturdy though I bought the correct one for her weight.
  • Bad. When I need Choco by my side (when someone passes us, when a car is coming down the road) I can't drag her back quickly... She has to come on her own accord when called.

  • Good. There is a lock on the leash that keeps Choco by my side when necessary.
  • Good. Choco loves the fact that she can explore the forest a bit more (it can get quite long).
  • Good. I no longer get yanked into the stream or forest (unless she sees a quail and the 5 meters still isn't long enough)
  • Good. Both Choco and I enjoy our walks more. So I guess for awhile all is good.
We'll see if this leash is studier than it looks... As I say, Choco is hard on leashes.

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