There are five dogs in our house, but not all of them go on daily walks. Rocket Boy won’t walk with me beyond where the van is parked in the driveway, because the further he gets away from Dalene, the less he likes it. Taco has a luxating patella, so at around 50 yards, she’s had enough and won’t budge unless she is carried. Maria will walk, but it has to be at least 75 degrees and dry outside, and she has to be in the proper mood. That leaves Zoey and Waldo…who both get walked several times a day. Zoey is a great walker. She doesn’t pull on the leash, and she prances like a dog in a Warner Brothers cartoon.
Waldo is a different story.
My walkies with Waldo have been fraught with problems from the start. We probably should have enrolled Waldo in obedience classes when he was a puppy. I wanted to, but I was met with resistance from D., who said that none of our dogs had been to obedience classes, and all of them were great. The thing is, all of the other dogs are little dogs who weigh less than 20 pounds…so when they misbehave, I can just pick them up and make them stop. Waldo weighs almost 100 lbs, and although he is a big sweet gentle dog, he knows exactly how powerful he is, and he’s not afraid to push his weight, (or me), around.
Waldo and I walk 1-3 miles every day, rain/shine or snow. We walk our dirt lane from the cabin to the road and back again, which is a half mile each way. We encounter activity or signs of previous activity on the lane during every walk. There is a lot of wildlife: birds, rabbits, skunks, squirrels, chipmunks, snakes, deer, coyotes, and fox. Sometimes we encounter a neighbor’s cat or dog, our mail carrier, Jehovah’s Witnesses, hunters, rangers looking for hunters, and lost hikers. There is a lot of action given the fact that we are surrounded by acres and acres of thick woods. Once, we even came home to a troop of boy scouts camped in a clearing alongside our lane. All of these encounters are of utmost interest to Waldo, who experiences each instance as though it is the most exciting/terrifying /fascinating thing in the world.
This has usually turned out badly for me.
Sometimes, like in the case of the hunters, very badly. Although I recognize that our walks are for and about him, I don’t see why I have to be dragged, yanked, trampled, tripped, and beaten up in the process. I have been flipped onto the gravel, dragged into the woods, yanked off my feet, had tendons twanged, joints popped, wrists burned, neck whiplashed, and knuckles crunched. I was beginning to have visions of him running down the lane dragging a leash, my dismembered arm bouncing merrily along behind him. The boy was killing me.
I switched him from a collar to a no-pull harness, but he acted like I was killing him whenever I put it on him. He didn’t pull as badly, but the narrow straps were uncomfortable for him, and putting it on him was so complicated I was exhausted before we even got going. I tried a regular harness, but that just gave him better leverage for dragging me around. D. bought him a backpack harness but it hung off of him sideways and the nylon seemed too flimsy to me. I wasn’t confident it would hold up to his abuse. Then, D bought him a comfort harness, which has a handle on it. She thought I’d be able to hold onto the handle to control him. That harness rides over to one side or the other (depending on where he’s dragging me), and when I try to control him with the handle, he just stretches the elastic like a rubber band. It was this harness that left me flat on my back and red-faced in the dirt the day Waldo decided that those hunters had no business walking our lane. When the dust cleared, I was still holding onto the handle.
“Are you OK?” they asked, as I lay there with the world spinning.
“No. But please, just. go. away.”
Through all of this, I have suggested that a gentle leader might be the solution, but D has forbidden it because she thinks they make dogs look vicious, like they are wearing a muzzle. She is also certain that I would snap his massive neck with my superhuman strength. (? what?) Then, a couple of weeks ago I saw a photo in my Facebook feed of a dog wearing a harness that I instantly knew would work. As I gazed on its magnificence, the heavens opened and a choir of angels sang out a glorious note of joyous exaltation.
It was the most beautiful harness I had ever seen. It was simple and innovative, and such a brilliantly obvious solution to my walkies tribulations. Not only that, its name perfectly summed up what I wanted: it was a Walk Your Dog with Love harness. I was absolutely certain it was going to be transformative. I googled the manufacturer and begged them to let me try one on Waldo, who in my opinion, should be the poster boy for the product.
I provided my moose’s weight and measurement and did a dance of joy when the sample arrived. Waldo seemed to instinctively know that this harness is different. It is such a simple design that I was momentarily flustered when I went to put it on him, because it was way too easy, and I thought it couldn’t possibly be that simple. The smart people at Walk Your Dog with Love anticipated this reaction , and directed me to a video on their website that shows just how absolutely possible it is to be that simple. I put it on him, sized it, and 30 seconds later, we set out on our first trial walkies.
The leash hooks on to the front of the Walk Your Dog With Love harness instead of the back. How brilliant is that?! That little detail is the key. It makes Waldo want to walk beside me or slightly behind me, instead of pulling and straining ahead of me. He also can’t get the leverage to drag me from the front. We used it for a week, but I held off on writing about it because I was waiting for a certain day.
That day arrived yesterday, when a deer crashed through the scrub alongside us, then bolted across the lane. Waldo lunged, but stopped short of the jerk that in the past had threatened to wrench my arm from its socket. He couldn’t pull me, or drag me, or twirl me like a top, because the design of the harness prevents it. While the whitetail bounded away from us, I opened my arms to the sky and sang my joy to the heavens.
Walking my dog with love has ended the war of the walkies and is a win/win solution.
#walkyourdogwithlove #bestinvention www.WalkYourDogWithLove.com
It’s spring and the insects that threaten our dogs’ health are out there. We are in immediate need of heartworm preventative, which we buy here: Drs Foster & Smith and Frontline (see the wishlist link below).
We are also always looking for coupons for certain items we purchase for the dogs on a regular basis. If you have Rachael Ray Nutrish coupons, Cesar coupons, or milkbone coupons that you will not be using, please save them for us. Contact me if you have some to send. And if you come across an errant box of Purina Busy HeartyHides in your store, for God’s sake, send them to us!
I also have a wishlist of items that we just can’t afford, but that would make life a whole lot easier.
Things we need Up on the Woof