Puppy walking

An adventure in looking after a puppy until it is old enough to be properly trained as a guide dog for the blind.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

About leashes and collars:

CGDB prefers British made leather leashes and collars. When I had Uma in 1991, we were also given a check chain for use around the neck (what they used to call a choke chain or a chain-slip collar). It had large links and when you put it on correctly, it was loose all the time except if you were pulling up on it for a correction. Now, they don’t even use those. The theory is that you should be able to control your dog and teach it not to pull on the lead and once it is taught that, you don’t need a controlling collar.

Rockwell still pulls on the leash at times but I recognize that as something that needs more work on my part. I have to take the time to walk with him and every time he pulls, I correct him by saying "steady" (or "leave it" if he is heading for something like a stick). Sometimes I stop completely and wait for him to stop and then we proceed until he pulls and then we stop again. It requires a fair bit of patience, I agree. Sometimes, I pull up on the leash with a bit of a snap as a correction to the pulling. This is what I used to do with the check chain but now I just do it with the leather collar and it works the same, really.

It’s the same with controlling horses. How on earth can a small woman sit on a 1000 pound horse and make it do what she wants it to? The same way you do with much smaller dogs. With technique and training.

I still have not mastered the ability to make Rockwell stop greeting strangers who walk by but I am getting there. It really helps if the other person ignores Rockwell. I’m doomed if they rush over to pet him. But let’s not forget we should only take baby steps to the elevator and I am hopeful that by the summer, Rockwell will be well on his way to doing whatever I ask him to do.

As for the leash, CGDB likes the leather leash with adjustable rings on it so you can make it short or long. Uma chewed right through her first leather leash in the first week we had it so I got her a nylon one for times when we weren’t out in public with the jacket on. Now I am using that same old leash for those kind of walks with Rockwell and his leather leash is still in good shape. Over the years, I have overheard other puppywalkers at the CGDB centre lamenting how their puppy had chewed through the leash so it is a common occurrence. I am pleased that I managed to avoid it with Rockwell (at least so far!).
In the photos, you can see that the leash has two metal rings - one about 10 inches from the end and the other right at the other end. If you clip the snap to the ring at the 10 inch point, it will form a loop for your wrist and this will be the long leash. If you clip to the ring at the other end, it will make the leash half the length and you can then use it like a harness or a balanced lead.
leash demo


At 11:34 a.m., February 03, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Julia,
I'm writing from Rome (Italy) and since some months I'm following your blog that's very interesting!!!
I have a yellow lab too, her name's Bea and she's 14 months years old...From time to time I recognize in Rockwell the same actions, expressions that Bea has. In particular I have a lot of trouble in learning her how to walk correctly on the leash...without success!!
I recognise that I'm not patience so I prefer to let she walking without leash ( she follows me, she walks with me when I say "step or Fus" - I don't know how to say in english!!) when it is possible... I really don't know if she will finally learn walking on the leash and I'm becoming quite desperate!!!

At 12:30 p.m., February 05, 2006, Blogger IndyPindy said...

Where did you get that leash? My mom loves leather leashes and she would love one like this for me!

Looks like having your mom over was a great treat for Rockwell!

At 4:09 p.m., February 06, 2006, Blogger HanktheDog said...

Interesting post. Molly had a most difficult time keeping me in line when I was younger. She finally turned to a pronged collar, though I haven't seen that thing in years. Maybe we could have done it differently.

At 5:23 p.m., February 06, 2006, Blogger JuliaR said...

Hi Bea’s mom from Italy! I’m glad you are enjoying the blog. I can only suggest obedience school to help you learn some methods of dealing with Bea on a leash. Perhaps you could join a group for learning other things too, like Furkids in Hong Kong.

Indy, the brand name on the collar says “Hunter” but there isn’t any name on the leash. All I know is that CGDB gets them from England.

Hank, I am glad you have matured so your mom doesn’t have to haul you around by a pronged collar. I think the pulling Rockwell does is giving me bigger arm muscles anyway!


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