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!

The Well-Dressed Dog

Let me begin this by saying that I am not one to dress my dog for the sheer point of dressing my dog.  Inara wears a coat and possibly booties when the weather/ground conditions outside warrant it.  I do not subject her to t-shirts in the summer to be fashionable.  She doesn’t like it, I don’t want to torture her.  It kind of creeps me out when people spend more money on their dog’s wardrobe than their own.  Or when they have matching outfits with their dog.  Or if the dog can’t leave the house without a dress or something on.  Just not my style.  That being said, I wanted to take you through Inara’s winter wardrobe.  Red is my favorite color, and since Inara is white, red looks smashing against her coat.

So we have to begin this ensemble with the most critical part of her “going outside” attire – her collar with tags.  As Inara has the strength of a Mack truck, I get her collars custom-made from Collarmania.  Lisa caters to those of us with bully breeds or other ridiculously strong dogs that would snap a little 1/2″ collar with a plastic snap in about 2 milliseconds.  Her work is outstanding and if you can think of it, she can design it. Inara has 5 Collarmania collars, all 1 1/2″ thick: a no-buckle slide collar, 2 leather buckle collars, a martingale and a plain nylon buckle collar.  Excellent quality, highly recommend her work.

Next is the leash.  Again, this needs to be a well-made piece of equipment to keep Inara where she belongs.  I prefer a 6′ leather leash in black. Simple and classic, but most importantly, strong.  

Inara is currently being worked on a Halti while we work through her dog-reactivity issues.  Originally the only Halti I could find in stores was black, so I had to use that for a while.  Everybody always thought she was a boy though, and quite frankly, I wasn’t happy with black on her face.  So a fantastic person sent me a red Halti that she no longer used (thanks, Erin!!!).  Whew – I could finally relax as Inara could continue with her red theme.

Next up is the coat.  It gets a tit bit nipply *giggle* here in NE Ohio and Inara has no body fat and a short coat.  Another fantastic person (I know lots of them!) sent Inara a beautiful red quilted coat, lined with black fleece (thanks Diana!!!).  It looks fabulous on her and, well, it’s red!

Finally are the booties.  Mock me if you will, but the ice here seems to freeze not flat, but in sharp little ridges that quickly cause Inara to limp.  So I ordered her some fleece booties that keep her feet warm and dry even when playing in the snow.  These are actual sled dog booties so they even stay on in deeper snow.  And they were cheap, always a plus.

So there we have it – red collar, Halti, coat and booties with a black leash.  She does get compliments when we go out, but most importantly she can stay warm.

 

Please excuse the red leash - I was going for the true overkill affect with it!
Please excuse the red leash - I was going for the true overkill effect with it!