Weaning off head halter

I am officially sick and tired of using the Gentle Leader and/or Halti on Inara. It’s time she (and I) wean ourselves off of it. She is 3 1/2 years old now and fully capable of having manners on a flat collar. Right? Right!

We’ve been working on loose leash walking plus a more formal attention heel, all on flat collar, in the yard and driveway. She’s doing fantastically, though I’m still using a crapload of treats as she’s still learning. The second I step onto the street though, she forgets I’m there. I mean as soon as all four feet are on the street (inches away from the driveway that she pays attention in!) she totally disconnects from me.

I’ve been continuing to do most of our training in the yard/driveway because I know it’s a good idea to get a task solid in one place before moving on, but I do have a question. Should I suck it up and put the GL back on her for some long walks, or are the shorter training sessions with lots of mental stimulation enough? She’s tired after our training sessions, but I feel bad that she’s seeing the exact same scenery every day. However, I don’t want to set back our training by allowing poor leash behavior on the GL just so we get a longer walk. Does that make sense?

The only reason I’m hesitating is because she’s begun acting like an ass even on the GL – pulling like crazy and just annoying the crap out of me. From this point on I don’t ever want her to think she can pull on leash. 

So, cliffs notes version (since I write too much!): short training sessions so she is set up to succeed, or put on the GL and suffer through longer walks so she gets a change of scenery?

P.S. Is it wrong of me to be highly entertained that my neighbors’ Yorkies freak out and shriek and yap the entire time I’m working with Inara outside? Inara ignores them completely. I hear the neighbors getting pissed at the Yorkies.

P.P.S. Check out Brad’s website – he’s getting his leatherwork business up and running.  I ordered a collar from him and will let you know as soon as I get it!

Dirty dog after rolling in, well, I don't want to know what it was!
Dirty dog after rolling in, well, I don't want to know what it was!

Know when to throw in the towel

Sometimes you need to know when to give up. It’s a gorgeous day today and I wanted to take Inara for a nice hour-long walk. Wasn’t in the stars though. Within 10 minutes she was pulling (on her Gentle Leader), ignoring me and getting really over-stimulated about everything. She couldn’t have cared less that I had hot dogs with her name written all over them. I was really getting salty at her. So I had two options:

1. Insist that we walk for an hour and get the exercise, though it would have required me jerking on her and yelling, thereby undoing all the progress she’s made.

2. Give up and just go back to the house.

I chose option 2. I realized my temper was short and her stimulation level was sensitive today. So we turned around and headed back to the house, getting in at least a few good minutes of training at the end. To keep myself from getting angrier at her antics, I just kept talking to her in a high, fun voice, praising if she so much as twitched an ear in my direction. We made it back without me killing her.

We’ll try again later today, or maybe just wait until tomorrow, depending upon both of our attitudes. I’d rather keep our relationship solid than force us both to do training that neither of us can handle at the time.

Remember that throwing in the towel is sometimes the high road you need to take when training.

Wishing she were back outside, behaving like a good dog!
Wishing she were back outside, behaving like a good dog!