Tuesday, July 13, 2010

it's not rocket science

When we decided to adopt Daisy and Mudge we realized we would need to go out and pick up a few essentials. So off we went to the nearest Petco to pick up a crate, some food, treats, and of course collars and leashes. They were little puppies so we got two adorable flat nylon collars and two nylon leashes much like the ones pictured below.

Now these two puppies did not stay so little very long and within a month we had to head back out to Petco to pick up two medium nylon collars. It didn't take long for them to outgrow their medium collars. So, around the same time we had to upgrade to the biggest damn crate on the market for these two monsters, we had to once again get two more nylon collars, this time in the large size.

While they were still sporting their medium collars, I decided it would be fun to take them down to a path along a little waterway the kids and I love to walk along. My two fun loving easy going puppies turned into crazy unpredictable barking maniacs less than two minutes after getting out of the van. There I am trying to control them as they pulled and spun and tugged in every direction until I had leashes wrapped around my legs and my hands were raw from the leashes rubbing and I was ready to pack them right back into the van. But I thought I should soldier on, so I did. Big mistake. Big. Big. Mistake.

We managed to make it down the path to the park at the end with the leashes wrapped over and over around my hands so the dogs had no slack on the leash at all. Sounds so fun for them, no? And that's when it happened. Some idiot (I hate calling names but really the guy was nothing less than an idiot) enters the park with his dog off the leash. A pit bull no less. Now I know pit bulls get a bum rap but still, a pit bull running leashless through the park. A park full of other kids and other dogs. Not a good idea with any dog, if you want my opinion. And my puppies went ballistic. They were barking and contorting and writhing as they tried to...what? I don't know. Join her? Attack her? Just go over and say hello? I just don't know but it didn't look friendly...and Miss Pit Bull's owner was nowhere near his dog. I hollered at the guy to put his dog on it's leash and he said, and I quote, "She's really friendly. A sweetheart." She could have been goddamn Mother Teresa, but with two demented hounds hollering their heads off at her, she was bound to react. And that is when it happened. Daisy went one way and I pulled at her leash, while nearly dislocating my shoulder at the same time, and next thing I know, she has slipped right out of her collar and was off and running. I literally launched myself at Daisy, dragging Mudge on his leash with me, and managed to grasp her by the folds on her back and I wrapped arms and legs around her while simultaneously yelling "PUT YOUR DOG ON IT'S LEASH!" I think I may have sworn but I'm not sure, that part is just a little fuzzy in the details. I must have looked deranged. The idiot got the message and put his dog on a leash. I somehow managed to get Daisy's collar back on her even though I never once let go of Daisy or Mudge's leash. I stood up, attempted to brush off both my muddy jeans and my humiliated ego, and snarled through my gritted teeth at the kids to get a move on. We made it back to the van without further incident. The very next morning found us in Petco once again.

I explained to the salesperson what had happened and asked her what she thought I should purchase so I could walk them without their getting away from me. The nice woman recommended harnesses.

She fitted them each into a harness and we went on our merry way. First of all, I have to state that I am an intelligent person. Second of all, it took me something like 15 minutes to put the dogs in the harnesses. They were freaking complicated. While the harness was something they couldn't slip out of, it still took every ounce of my strength to control both dogs at the same time.

I used the harnesses for several weeks but walks with the two behemoths were not fun for me at all. I spent all my time and energy trying to keep them from dragging me off my feet and was only successful some of the time. There had to be something better. I asked around and several people recommended a Haltee or the Gentle Leader. I paid yet another visit to Petco and purchased two size large Gentle Leaders.
I should have known when I bought them that they were not going to work for us. They came with an eight page instruction book and a dvd to tell you how to fit it on the dog and use it. I fitted one on Daisy which she pawed at and bucked to try and remove it. She was unsuccessful though. I fitted the other on Mudge and he reacted the same way Daisy had. He, however, was very successful at removing the offending Gentle Leader. A half a dozen attempts later, he was still able to get it off within five minutes. I gave up on him and read the booklet and tried to get Daisy used to walking with it on. Oh, forgot to mention, they also came with a warning not to pull or jerk the dog because you could cause serious neck injuries. Daisy did NOT read the booklet and she kept pulling away. Worried I was going to cause debilitating injury, I admitted defeat, took off the Gentle Leader and packaged them both back up and returned them. At that point I had signed my menaces up for puppy school and the trainer told me what to buy. Back again to Petco and we left with two choke collars and two leather leashes.

She did not specify a specific length of leash and of course first thing she says to me when I brought them to their first class was "those leashes aren't long enough. You need the six foot leashes." Of course I do. Because I really want to make ANOTHER freaking trip to the goddamn petco. I was very anxious as to how their class would go and while I can't say they were star pupils (we couldn't even go in the door without first getting a private tutorial), they also didn't do too badly. The trainer checked over their collars before we began and noted that they will most likely need the next size up in choke collars soon. Really? I seriously just bought them last month. And if the choke collars don't seem to rein them in we may need to upgrade to the scary looking prong collars.

So far the choke collars seem to be doing the trick when I'm walking them one at a time. Time will tell if I need to make the jump to what appears to be a bear trap you wrap around the neck. I'd probably injure myself just trying to put it on them.

I cannot believe I have spent so much money on collars and leashes. But what really boggles the mind is that I can't figure out something that should be so simple. I mean, who goes into a pet store and needs someone to help them choose a collar? Seems so silly, but take my word for it, it is not simple. At training class last night I discovered I was putting the choke collars on them incorrectly. My eighteen year old niece showed me the proper way to put the collar on them. I don't know, maybe it's me. Anywho, it's time I paid another visit to Petco...I think they may be missing me, It's been over a week since my last visit.


Jean said...

Oh dear lord!! One more reason I'll stick to cats!
PS..I gave you an award on my blog. :-)

Anonymous said...

Oh Marie!!!
I feel your pain. We too went through the same thing. The Choker collar with the pinchers is the best. We used it for all of our 3 large dogs. Especially our dobies Tanner and Ranger and you know how Ranger was. Anyways, Bets of luck, i'd like to say it gets easier, but I'd be lying..... FYI, We used to keep their nylon collars on but hook up the leash to the pincher collar, not the nylon when walking. That way when you get home and take off the pincher you have something to grab, makes life easier. Just remember not to keep the choker on all the time, my brother had a dog, put him in the outside metal cage with one still on and the dog attempted to dig out, got caught and ended up hanging himself.
Of course if I lived with my brother I'd do the same.......

Love and miss you all, Donna

I heart said...

I'm exhausted just reading this!!