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.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

And yet more about those walks. This time however, I think I lost about 5 years off my life. Rockwell wears a regular leather collar. When he’s hanging around the house, I usually buckle it on the second to last hole because it seems to be a good fit. Lately, I have been thinking about moving it to the last hole, as it is getting a little snug. However, what I hadn’t been noticing is that it is also stretching. Although I could see a part on the collar where the leather was stretched out, it didn’t appear that it was making the collar bigger. Anyway, I think you know what’s coming.

So there we were, walking around the big loop on the fairly busy street. Actually, this street is really good for walking Rockwell because the cars go by regularly so he notices each one but not in a continuous stream so he would be overwhelmed by them. Occasionally, a bus goes by too so he gets nice practice at not worrying about traffic. We had been walking using the balanced lead but that only works while he pulls ahead. If he stops, I can’t pull him along unless I use the leash like a regular leash. He had been stopping a lot so I had switched to just hanging onto the leash normally. As well, I had gained much confidence with the double leash arrangement and had stopped using it (although that didn’t make any difference in the end).

At one point, he stopped dead and decided he MUST go investigate smells on the grass. I turned around because by now he was behind me and I pulled on the leash. He must have turned his head a little in JUST the right way because suddenly, there I was, standing holding a leash with an empty collar on the end of it. I was looking at a naked dog who had thankfully become totally absorbed in the wonderful smells on the grass (on the side away from traffic).

I was horrified and I could feel my heart rate go through the roof. At the same instant, I knew I had better not make any sudden or panicked moves otherwise he’d be off like a shot. I leaped (quietly) at him and wrapped my arms around his body, standing over him. He didn’t try to get away I think because he was absorbed in his task of smelling. I wished again at that point that I had three arms. I got the collar in one hand, all the while trying to keep that elbow pinned against the dog and then I worked the still buckled collar over his head as fast as I could.

Once he was again collared, I stood up and tried to calm down. My knees were shaking. He seemed totally unfazed by the experience. That was when I realized I couldn’t pull him by the collar for fear it would slip off again. I didn’t trust myself to unbuckle it and buckle it tighter in the mental state I was in so the rest of our walk was a very slow, odd little dance as he got to go smell all the grass between there and home and I could only keep up. Now I have to decide if I have gone all paranoid again like I did with the two leashes and put two collars on him.

The stretched-out collar.
the stretched collar
In the next sequence, I was just trying to show how the collar looked on him. He gets all suspicious that I’m going to DO something to him...
Ack! What do you want?
attempting to pose the dog
Finally, I just ask him to pose, please, and he does. That collar doesn’t look loose at all.
collar on the dog


At 11:11 p.m., April 09, 2006, Blogger Natalie said...

Wow! Scary!! Just thinking about that makes my heart race :S You're right, the collar doesn't look too loose. You must be a very good quiet leaper! :D

I'm glad that nothing too serious happened- I'm glad you didn't have a heart attack, although it sucks about the five years off your life! :P

At 11:59 a.m., April 10, 2006, Blogger JuliaR said...

Yeah Nat, I'm hoping it was only one year off my life, as I can't afford to lose five. :)

At 2:36 p.m., April 10, 2006, Blogger 8675309 said...

Ack!!! You nearly took a year off MY life with this post, and I wasn't even there!

Love those pics of him being suspicious....

At 11:59 a.m., April 11, 2006, Blogger Katherine said...

Very scary! What about putting a choke chain collar on him just for walks?

At 12:02 p.m., April 11, 2006, Blogger JuliaR said...

Katherine, you read my mind! Wait for the next post...
Jenny, his "suspiciousness" is very funny (if it weren't so frustrating) in real life.


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