Football!

Alright, Inara didn’t get to play, but had she been given a chance I think she would have proven her talent at the rough and tumble sport.  Actually, we were there watching Inara’s Auntie Jolie play flag football (as a side note, their version of flag football is very painful-looking!).  We like to get out there and hob-nob with Inara’s fans while cheering for the Outlaws.

Inara did fantastically well!  I started off with her on her Gentle Leader but I took it off after only a few minutes.  So we were out in the public eye on just her regular flat collar for about 3 hours with no problems whatsoever!  There were a couple other dogs there, but they were far enough away that Inara just postured a bit and then decided the hot dogs I’d brought were more interesting.  She made lots of new friends and had several of her adoring fans from last year’s season get all excited to see her again.  Several people threatened to kidnap her from me, and she managed to con some Pringles from some other spectators.  

It was a great start to the flag/touch football season!

And as a proud Clevelander –

GO CAVS!!!!!!

Inara at a football game last Fall, doing her best Yoda impression.
Inara at a football game last Fall, doing her best Yoda impression.

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Dog school was great today!

Inara and I had dog school this morning.  Over the past few weeks her reactivity has dropped and she is now more interested in me than the other dogs.  The previous classes we had zig-zagged through cones, working on eye contact.  Well, the ante was upped today.  

After zig-zagging through the cones, they decided that we were all doing so well that the difficulty needed to be increased.  So people with their dogs replaced the cones. We had to zig-zag through people/dog pairings, with about 4 feet between the dogs.  I was a bit nervous as I try to avoid getting that close to other dogs, but I took a deep breath and we went for it.  

Inara did SO FREAKING WELL!!!  She completely ignored the dogs that were only a couple feet away, just focusing on me (well, the treats!) the whole time we were zig-zagging.  Several times Inara got within about 18 inches of the other dogs and she didn’t even care.  All the dogs did amazingly well.

Then we practiced walking straight towards each other and shaking hands, with our dogs on our left.  Once again, all the dogs did so well.  Not a growl, stare or snark of any kind.  Just very cool.  🙂

It blows my mind how far all the dogs have come so far in this class.  That first week was chaotic, with dogs freaking out and whining and screaming whenever a new dog entered the room.  None of the dogs even realized that they had owners on the other end of their leashes.  This week, they looked like “regular” dogs you could be proud to take on a walk.  Everybody has obviously worked very hard.  All the dogs in this class are going to be great pit bull ambassadors.

 

Yodel-a-lay-hee-hoo!
Yodel-a-lay-hee-hoo!

Let’s talk collars

Hey all!  I am so sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted.  I seem to have miraculously developed a social life as well as a fondness for going to the gym.  It’s crazy.  I feel like I’ve entered the Twilight Zone, LOL.  

Inara got a new collar in the mail today, so I wanted to spend some time talking about the various collar options you have for your dogs, both training and regular collars.  First though, a picture of Inara in her new collar:

 

Turquoise lizard-print leather with hot pink suede lining, from www.collarmania.com
Turquoise lizard-print leather with hot pink suede lining, from http://www.collarmania.com

Every pit bull needs to have on them at all times a well-fitting, strong collar with ID tags. I’m a collar snob and only get my collars from Collarmania.  Each collar is custom-made for your dog, and the materials that Lisa uses are extremely high-quality.  I never worry about one of her collars breaking no matter how hard Inara may lunge.  The majority of collars you find at pet stores have those cheap plastic clasps.  Please don’t trust those to hold if your dog decides it wants to be elsewhere.  Width-wise, I prefer a one and a half inch collar for Inara.  Again, it just makes me feel more secure that it will hold, no matter what.

The types of collars I want to discuss today are flat collars (nylon or leather), martingales/limited slip collars, prong collars, choke collars, remote training collars and head collars.  I will not go into training methods with each of them – I may do so in a later post, though.  For now, I simply want to make sure everybody knows their options.

  • Flat collars – these are basic buckle collars.  These can be bare bones or very glamourous.  Generally your dog’s ID tags should be hooked to one of these. Whether it’s fancy-schmancy embroidered leather or a simple nylon collar, I cannot emphasize enough that it should be strong to keep your dog safely contained, and fitted snugly enough (though not tightly!) that your dog cannot back out of it.
  • Martingale/limited slip collars – These are collars that have an extra loop that gently snugs up around your dog’s neck when you pull on it.  They can only tighten so much though, hence the name limited slip collars.  These are great for dogs who are able to easily back out of regular flat collars.  
  • Prong collars – Prongs are another form of limited slip collar, though they look very different and are used only for training.  They are metal collars with inward-facing prongs that rest against the dog’s neck.  When the leash is pulled the collar pinches the dog’s neck.  These are not collars your dog should wear around the house.  
  • Choke chains – Choke collars can come in chain, nylon or leather form.  These collars can tighten all the way so caution must be used with them.  Frighteningly, too often you see dogs just wearing these around the house, possibly with their ID tags attached.  This is dangerous.  Like the prong collar, these should only be used for training purposes.
  • Remote training collars – Also known as electric collars and “shock” collars, these are placed snugly on the dog’s neck and come with a remote control to trigger a vibration or electrical stimulation against the dog’s neck.  They have varying levels of stimulation.  Again, this is not a “wear around the house” collar, it is a training collar.
  • Head collars – These are based on a horse’s halter.  They are fitted snugly up at the very top of the neck and have a loop that goes over the dog’s nose.  They provide a great deal of control over the dog’s head because if the dog pulls the head collar turns his/her head around so they are facing back at you.  This is another collar that is put on only for training purposes.

You need to decide for yourself which collar is most appropriate for your dog.  This may change depending upon the situation you and your dog are going to be in.

To end this post, I want to post a picture of Inara doing her damnedest to guilt me into feeding her dinner early.  If she thinks it’s time for dinner, she’ll go sit in her crate and just stare at me with these big mournful eyes.  She’s pitiful!

 

The mistress of the guilt trip
The mistress of the guilt trip