Thursday, March 25, 2010

Funny How Things Sneak Up On You...

Two years ago, I was extremely spoiled in the dog walking department.  My first greyhound, Treat, was the perfect first greyhound.  She'd raced just long enough to have excellent leash manners and to be able to appreciate the cushy life of retirement.  Walking her was a dream.  Most of the time, you never knew she was on the other end of the leash.  She naturally walked right beside me and loved to walk.  If she had to choose between walking and breathing air, she'd have chosen to walk.  Hawk was very skittish and constantly tried to herd us home, so we got to the point where it wasn't worth the fight.  Lilac was a bit older when we got her and wasn't used to walking.  She just didn't have the stamina and she moved at a snail's pace.  Blueberry is a sweetheart, but she is not a good walker.  She's all over the place and it's a constant battle between us about where to walk, how fast to walk and it ends up with one or both of us sulking.
After Treat died, a part of me never wanted another dog and the other part really needed another dog.  After we decided to get another greyhound, I felt immensely better about life.  My plan was to get another dog around the age that Treat was when we got her, which was just shy of four years old.  That seems to be the magic age when they settle down, lose the puppy foolishness and their brain grows in.  They're very trainable at that age and I figured that I'd get a dog who still had energy and stamina, but wasn't too crazy.  When we went to the adoption kennel, we met a lot of dogs and most of them were around that age.  Not a single one of them really showed a particular interest in me, however, and Blueberry let it be known that she was not even slightly impressed by any of them.  Then, finally, they let us meet a dog they'd just gotten in and knew very little about.  I fell for Bunny right away and she fell for us, too.  It was really hard to leave her there at the kennel as we waited for her spay surgery.

A few weeks later, we returned to pick her up and we brought her home.  Did I mention that she was just a puppy at eighteen months old?  Most of the time, you can't tell how young she is by her behavior.  However, one thing became painfully obvious when we stopped at the dog bakery to celebrate her arrival home.  Bunny had hardly any experience walking on a leash.  It would have been easier to walk a trout down the street than it was to walk Bunny.  I began to suspect that a pony took over her body when we walked out the back door with her leash on, since she'd rear up on her back legs and buck around.  As soon as the collar would tighten on her neck in the slightest, she balked. 

I began to despair about having a walking partner.  She was as close to perfect in every other aspect, but that was one area that needed improvement.  Most of that first summer, we did hardly any walking.  In the fall, we went to a greyhound reunion and bought a wonderful invention.  Bunny got her first Wiggles, Wags and Whiskers harness.  It was amazing how much it curbed her pulling, right from the get go.  She was a bit uncertain about it, but she began to get more comfortable with it. 

Later that fall, we began obedience classes and Bunny learned where she was supposed to walk and what she was supposed do to.  She still wasn't keen on doing it without the training collar on, however.  When we went places, we still opted for the harness since she behaved so well in it, and because I've read that it's better for dogs, particularly greyhounds, to walk in a harness as opposed to a collar. 

This Spring we've become a lot more committed to walking.  I noticed something this Spring, too.  Bunny has become an excellent walker.  I'm not sure when, how or why it happened, but she's become a dream to walk.  Part of it might be age, she did turn three in November, and certainly, there's been more experience being on a leash.  I also feel like she's really becoming an extension of my arm, much like Treat used to be.  I'm finally really feeling like we're ready to try the therapy dog test and see where the chips fall.  I think she's finally become the perfect dog, but please don't tell her I said that.  It'll go straight to her head!  And for those worried about her interest in horses, she is very keen and goes into stalking mode, but she doesn't go crazy or actually try to go after them.  She has done a wonderful job of staying in control.

Blueberry Types for the Blog


  1. It has been a while, but adopting into The Herd is always fun. We walk everyday (something about burning enough energy off that the house is not destroyed). I simply stop and stand still when one of the dogs is being a butt on a leash. But that is all I have to do because The Herd all handle the correction from there - "Listen, Newbie, behave so the rest of us can move forward."

  2. We are glad to hear that Bunny is coming along with the walking.
    We love to walk too - such a great bonding time between humans and dogs - well except when you are chasing them!
    That is a very pretty harness. Our two have harnesses - mainly for the car - but don't like them at all.
    Glad your harness has been a success for Bunny - they are all different and it does seem to be a case of trial and error.

  3. Hey! I know all about that. I am in remedial walkie school right now because I was being a very bad dog on my walkies. I have a sports bra just like you (only in manly black).


  4. We walk much better with our harnesses on than with a collar - we try and pull to much with the collar on which is not good for us.

    Glad to hear that Bunny is doing better on her walks - sometimes all it takes is time and patience :)

    Pugs & Kisses,

    Yoda & Brutus

  5. We won`t tell a soul you said that Hound. Glad to hear Bunny has become a perfect walking partner for you!

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. "Blueberry is a sweetheart, but she is not a good walker. She's all over the place and it's a constant battle between us about where to walk, how fast to walk and it ends up with one or both of us sulking. "

    Funny, Blueberry walks good for me. There's just something about that whole boy and his dog thing. LOL.

  8. doesn't surprise me in the leastest that Bunny is the perfect dog. But okay, I won't tells her...I promise! Mom had to buy me a harness, too cuz I'm a puller. I can't help it. I'm just SO excited about the world! I'm workin' on it but it sure is hard.

    OH! And on another note, I tagged you for photo tag! The rules are on my bloggie.

    Wiggles & Wags,

  9. Well, I actually like the look of that harness on her!! I'm just sayin.

  10. Couldn't even think of going for a walk with a collar these days - harnesses are much safer and more comfortable. None of that horrible pulling on the neck. Mark you the troubadors have rather mundane black ones - nothing as fancy as in the photo!

  11. I have to admit I am fortunate with Albert and Puddles, they are excellent walkers. Albert will even stop at crosswalks without being told to. Whitney on the otherhand is a different story...soon as the leash goes on, it's like her feet are bolted to the ground.
    I am thrilled to know Bunny has become a walking dog. And she is one heck of a gorgeous dog.


  12. That looks like the same kind of harness as we use with all of our dogs, even after they're grown up and trained. It works well but not perfectly.

    I despaired that I'd never have a peaceful leash walk with R, due to his pulling and sniffing, until recently, when he finally "got it". He's just over 2 yrs old - so I thought that maybe it was age for him too. It seems like he suddenly is more capable of controlling his crazy impulses to get someplace *now* regardless of who he's dragging on the other end of the leash!

    I'm so glad that Bunny's becoming a great walking partner. It makes walking so much more fun!

  13. It does just kind of sneak up on you doesn't it?
    Suddenly that pup is older.... and you realize the pup *is* now the perfect hound. It is a gentle transistion and doesn't replace what you have lost, but adds to the list of loves very nicely. Tucks right into your heart next to the other ones there.

    Hugs to you and scritches to Bunny and your other hounds.

  14. Bunny's such a pretty model and look at that shiny coat! No wonder she walks so nice for you. =)

    Sophie wore a collar for ID purposes, but we always hooked her leash to the harness. We had been informed by the greyhound adoption organization that it was easy for greyhounds to slip out of their collars when attached to a leash, so we never wanted to take the chance of that happening. We're sold on harnesses for all future dog members of our family. As well, they seem like a more humane option.

  15. "Walking a trout" HAHAHA!!! That's too funny! Glad that Bunny is an excellent walker now!!

    Woofs and Kisses!

  16. Gramma complains ALL the time about my walking abilities! She always talks about her old dog named Sarge and what a great walker he was. Then she gets sad because it has only been two years since he left to got to heaven. I must try harder!

  17. Thank you for sharing a part of Bunny's story with us. You're such a silly momma. Everything Bunny does is perfect. BOL It's not easy picking one of us, but sometimes, we're match made in heaven and that's definitely what you and Bunny are. Glad to hear you're both enjoying your pleasant walks.

  18. She has such an elegant, long neck! Beautiful!

    Well done both of you for getting to the point you're now at! And good luck with the therapy testing! :)

  19. We're a great believer in the use of harnesses - our pups in training for the guide dog and assistance dog programmes train with them and it works very well.

    take care
    Clive and the NSLM

  20. I will nobody tell your secret !!!
    Promised .....

    Hugs Kareltje =^.^=

  21. i like my harness a lot, too. i have a black one. at first, i wasn't sure what it was, and i really didn't like the tummy strap. now i know it's waaaay better than a collar.
    yay for miss bunny becoming an expert walker. :)
    the booker man

    pee s -- i tagged you! stop by my bloggie to find out what it is!

  22. Gramma tells me that I am not a good walker. What is she talking about....... I walk just fine!

  23. My lips are sealed too!
    I know a collar is not an option for me either!
    Glad Bunny is enjoying her walks!
    Kisses and hugs

  24. She has made great progress. And you have reminded me how lucky I am to have a fenced yard! :)

  25. mommish wishes she had a running partner but wiff all our chubbiness all we cand do is walk her
    pibble sugars and wee wags
    the pittie pack

  26. My two are great long as I am only walking one of them. When I decide to take both of them, Dory decides that all of her leash manners do not apply!


We love hearing your comments!

Related Posts with Thumbnails