Walking Adventures

As I am the primary caregiver to Luna (a deal that was agreed before we got another dog, as it was myself that dreamed of long dog walks wrapped up warm – N.B I do NOT like hot weather!), it is me that takes her on said walks – twice daily through the working week and usually one long walk a day on the weekends (typically the local park or beach).

Now when she was a puppy of 3-4 months old, this was a doddle (once we’d trained her how to walk when she suddenly had this alien contraption of a harness and lead attached to her that is), as she was (relatively) small. However now she is approaching 15 months old and is almost fully grown, she can be a handful to walk – picture the famous ‘Jurassic Park’ scene whereby the tyrannosaurus-rex breaks out of it’s paddock for the first time in the pouring rain…

Luna is a very well behaved dog it has to be said, however she just gets so excited on walks that if she wants to pull you somewhere, you are usually going there… and no amount of trying the “stop dead when your dog pulls till they give you slack again” and/or “stop and go in the opposite direction” training will make any difference once she wants something. That is until very recently…

After many hours spent searching the internet for alternative methods of training her (that would neither involve walks around the block taking 3 weeks due to the stop-wait-slack-walk method, or looking like a loony walking back and forward in different directions aimlessly), that would prevent my poor limbs from being yanked out of their sockets and stop my slow but sure transformation into Popeye the Sailor Man due to my bulging shoulder muscles, I found what sounded like the “miracle” solution, and it had been in front of my face all along…

Well, more accurately it had been suggested by Husband a long time ago, (but as he has only ever attended us on a total of like 5 walks, we (me) thought we knew best). So anyway, the “miracle”, instantaneous cure to lead pulling was to simply attach the dogs lead to the front of their harness, opposed to the back/top of it. Really, that was it?

It was that simple to stop a dog that liked to make me do an impression of tin cans behind a “Just Married” wedding car, and instead give me the tranquil, skipping through the meadows dog walks I had dreamed of pre-Luna? I wasn’t convinced, and furthermore, I knew Luna wouldn’t be either.

Nevertheless, I was determined to be positive on our next walk (especially given the claims of “it literally instantly stopping my massive dog from pulling me over like a button had been pressed” and such the like on Amazon reviews), so off we headed with Luna’s lead attached to the front of her harness. She was not particularly amused, as she quickly realised that if she pulled too far away from me, she would be directed back towards me in a cruel twist of irony.

At first I wasn’t too amused either. Don’t get me wrong the fact that my back wasn’t literally pulsating from the pulling action after our walk was astounding to say the least, but the way the position of the lead meant it was always sort of shaking from her clipping it with her leg from just walking was getting annoying, fast.

However, perseverance and 4-5 walks later, Luna had quickly learnt that it was best to walk quite close to my side to avoid this nerve-shredding shaking lead business, and she was walking much better! I do occasionally say to her “Right, I am going to clip the lead to your back for a bit, so behave”, and swap to the old style to see if she’ll slowly learn to walk better this way too, but usually after 5 minutes she has realised she is “free” and starts the yanking business again – so back we swap!

I honestly cannot believe the difference this method makes (and how quickly), but if you have a dog that pulls notoriously, I would definitely give a good quality harness with a front option lead attachment a go! The difference in our walks now is literally day and night! So I may still have that skipping-through-the-meadows-singing-Julie-Andrews-stylie experience yet!

Until then (and certainly not until this horrendous lashing rain and gale-force winds weather has ceased – snow at Easter?), we bid you goodbye on another post, as Madam here is actually tapping her paw waiting for her nightly walk…

Wet nose kisses & curly tail wags, The Loony Luna team X

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