Honey off leash
Runs up to twenty steps past me before looking back to see where I am. If I’m doing anything remotely interesting to her like digging in my pocket (“do you have a treats?”) or turning around (“where are you going?”), she comes running back to my side.
I’m like a planet and Honey is a satellite in orbit around me. I’m not sure when she’ll come back around but it won’t be too long.
Honey on leash (wearing a front fastening Easy Walk Harness)
Occasionally moves ahead so she can capture all the best smells first but will often walk by my side and look up at me occasionally, just to check in. Honey never pulls so she doesn’t really experience the motion of the leash pulling her off center because it’s attached to the harness at the front of her chest.
I’m still a planet and Honey’s still a satellite. But this time, we’re in synchronous orbit.
Honey on leash (attached to her collar)
Nearly always out in front, periodically pulling. I have to work hard to get any eye contact at all. It feels as if she’s doing her thing while I’m doing mine.
Yep, I’m still a planet but now Honey is a meteorite on an entirely different path.
Do you ever see such radical differences in behavior based on the leash and collar you’re using?
I’ve had two severe “pullers” in my life and I know that Honey’s pulling is very mild. Christie used to pull so hard she’d choke herself if we didn’t stop. Shadow had a stronger trachea. She’d just pull until my hands were bleeding from trying to keep hold of the leash.
I know that to teach Honey how to walk nicely on a loose leash I need to do the following things:
- Be more interesting than other things on the walk (you’d think I was more interesting than a dead mouse but apparently that’s up for debate).
- Walk faster (don’t you wonder if 90% of pulling problems could be solved if people just went a little faster to keep up with their dogs?).
- Act unpredictably. If Honey has no idea which way I’m going to turn at any given time, she has to keep an eye on me.
That’s what I try to bring to every walk, especially when Honey’s leash is simply attached to her collar.
But why is it so hard to get her attention when we’re walking with a regular leash and collar?
I understand that the uncertainty of being off leash matched with Honey’s connection to me will keep her focused on me much of the time.
But does Honey take me for granted when we’re attached by a leash? And if so, why does she pay more attention to me when she’s wearing a harness than when she’s just wearing her collar?
I used the same Easy Walk Harness with Shadow. It did eliminate the pulling. But Shadow never paid much attention to me while wearing it–or ever when we were outdoors with lots of interesting smells.
So I’m puzzled by Honey’s attentiveness to me when she’s wearing the harness while I have to work so hard to get her focus when she’s just wearing her collar.
Maybe I’ll figure it out someday. Or maybe a little mystery is good for a relationship.
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