Dog Accessories

As a dog person, I constantly have my eyes open for the newest dog accessory.  In my house, we are fully equipped with a variety of collars, leashes, and harnesses.  We have a head halter and a cage muzzle.  We have tshirts, a life vest, sun screen, poop bag holders, clickers, and treat bags.  So what are the best accessories?  What stuff is worth coming back to?

So here is a run-down of what Leroy is currently, or most often sporting.

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Freedom No Pull Harness

The Freedom No Pull Harness is an awesome tool.  There is a latch in the front and back of the harness, and it comes with a double connection leash.  You can choose to hook one part on the front and one on the back, two on the front, two on the back, or just one to create a longer leash.  I usually opt for both sides hooked to the front, or one on the front and one on the back.  However, my favorite part about this harness is the velvet armpit straps.  The Freedom is similar to the more readily available Easy Walk harness (being modeled on Drake), which is found at most pet stores.  But the nice straps help with rubbing and are especially appreciated for the short haired dogs.

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Holt Walking Collar

Commonly mistaken for a muzzle, the Holt Walking Collar is probably the best training tool I’ve found.  This tool helps to control your dog’s head.  It works the same way as the horse bridle; so when you control the face, you can easily control the body.  The downfall to this tool is that it takes some acclimation, and Leroy often tries to rub it off on the grass.  But despite some random grass rolling, he walks much nicer in this than anything else.  I especially like the Holt brand of head halters because it has an additional clip to attach the halter to the dog’s collar.  The Gentle Leader makes a head collar that simply has a leash attachment.  However, I feel much more secure knowing that my leash is attached to Leroy’s head halter, which is also attached to his collar.  So this, is my go-to walking accessory.

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Martingale collar and ID tag

And the daily accessory; Leroy’s martingale collar and name tag.  I have a lot of dog collars.  More than I need, certainly.  But I have grown to really like the martingale.  Granted, I don’t use it for walking.  But it is very secure, and super cute 🙂  It needs to either be adjusted or vigorously pulled over his head if I want to take it off.  I like knowing that it is really on him.  So if I ever had to grab hold in an emergency situation, the collar and tag would be sturdy.  The ID tag is a simple, custom, adorable, neck tie design that is engraved with his name and my phone number.

As you may have noticed, the training tools and techniques I use with Leroy are all known as “Force Free” or “Positive Reinforcement”. No prong collar, force, intimidation, or pain is used.  But I would like to know- What do you use?  What have you tried and not had very much luck with?  What are your dog’s accessories?  🙂

 

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Progress!

 

 

 

 

So if you read my letter to Leroy or noticed my lack of blogging, you may have gathered that I’ve been a little bit busy.  But I’m back!  This month I received my MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.  (WOOT! If you’re interested in the other half of my life, you can check that out)  I will be busy and working to figure life out, as always.   But I promise to start providing more regular updates on Leroy’s progress!  However, it was a good time to take a blogging break, because Leroy is officially on Prozac (it takes 6 weeks to see any noticeable changes).  So I am ready and able to say that we are making progress!  But I am 100% certain that this progress is a combination of Prozac and very diligent training.  The Prozac is helping Leroy to stay under threshold more easily, and the training is giving him something active and productive to do when he becomes stressed out or overwhelmed.  It had been a great combination!  Not without mistakes, meltdowns, or errors of course.  But the overall trend has been progress.

Leroy is more capable of coping with a slowly moving cat in the distance, or even a very still cat a few feet away!  He uses his new favorite command, “Look at that”, to find something that is exciting and chase-worthy.  When he sees the exciting kitty, he has a moment.  Maybe we’ll call it a mental freak out.  He sees the cat and he wants to chase it!  That’s what he knows- that’s what he does!  But then he remembers- If he sees something exciting and he looks up at mom, he gets treats!  Good boy Leroy, good boy 🙂

We are still struggling with skateboards.  Those buggers are a challenge.  But we had a nice moment yesterday with a boy walking past us who was holding a skateboard.  Leroy didn’t quite go over threshold, but he was crying and worked up about it.  On the one hand, I could have been upset.  He wasn’t even riding the skateboard, he was just carrying it!  But on the other hand, I knew what to do!  And guess what?! Leroy knew what to do!  I waited Leroy out while he had a minor freak out… and then he gave me a very nice look away.  YES!  Good boy Leroy, Michaela would be proud.  🙂  Leroy got a nice reward and we left!

I goez for nap nao

I goez for nap nao.

 

Sorry for the delay in posting.  Please comment if you have any questions, post suggestions or anything at all!

 

Sponsor us here– 5k Race to Rescue

A Letter To My Dog

Dear Leroy,

Thank you for your continuous support and friendship.  You have been an amazing help to me during this past month while I finished graduate school.  I could not have done it without your patience and understanding.  I would like to thank you for being so wonderful, as well as apologize for my faults.

We both know that when I was looking for a companion, I wanted to meet an adult, preferably older than three.  You came into my life as a young one year old mess who needed a friend, and after being your foster mom for many months, I could not say goodbye.  I was happy that you did not have a very high energy level, even back then.  I knew that these two years in school would require a lot of my time, energy, and attention.  But what you lacked in energy, you began to make up for in behavioral issues.

I let things get to a bad place.  I can not fully express the depth of my sorrow for that.  I was often tired after I finished a long day in school, and you seemed to prefer cuddling and tug-of-war over a walk.  Philadelphia is scary.  You seemed very overwhelmed, so I let things slide.  This is not acceptable.  I am so sorry for this mistake.  When a child does not want their vegetables, their mom will not let it slide.  They get creative.  They ask for one bite.  They ask for a second bite.  They are encouraging.  They persist.  I did not persist.  You didn’t like walks, so we stopped.  I promise to never let this happen again.

 

I did take you on the occasional walk.  And we did a lot of playing, fostering, training, and games.  So things were not all bad.  But something happened during this time that made me truly understand your stress level.  Not anything obvious.  Maybe I just was reading, training, and trying to understand.  You are after all, my first dog.  We did a lot of learning together.  But I started to understand that maybe you needed more help than I could offer.  I don’t like seeing you stressed.  But I didn’t know how to fix it.  And avoiding the outdoors certainly isn’t a good solution.

I finally accepted that I needed some help.  So after the holidays we went full force into behavioral adjustment training and started you on Prozac.  I blamed myself for your lack of progress.  But now I blame myself for letting things get as bad as they did.  I know this last month has been crazy, but I promise I will never let things get to that place again.

So Leroy, thank you.  Thank you for letting me slack off this month.  I can not say that life will never get busy or overwhelming again; I’m sure that it will.  But I will do my best to remember all of your needs, and take them seriously.  You may be willing to skip the walk, but it does not mean that we should.  Thank you for everything.

Your Loving Mother and Friend,

Casey

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