I screwed my hat down tight on my head then cinched the stampede string snug under my chin.
One, two, three circles around my hand with the rope, I pulled it as hard as I could. I checked it and pulled it tighter.
A deep breath to center myself, then with a confident nod, "BANG!" the door flew open and we tore out as if shot from a cannon.
No, I've not lost my mind and taken up bull riding as a new hobby. I'm merely taking my dog, Topper, for a morning stroll. She's a bit of a puller on the leash. She's got more pull per square inch or torque or however you measure extreme pulling power than a tractor, more than an ox or a draft horse or sled dog. She could pull my car out of a ditch, which will be handy in the winter, but not so much fun for morning walks around the neighborhood.
She leans into it, pins her ears back, digs in with her claws, pushes with her hind quarters, never looks back or side to side, never stops to smell the roses. This is work for her, it's a job to get done. I've tried every "no pull harness/leash" combination ever made or sold. I've tried stopping every time she pulls, (those 45 minute walks turned into 2 hour ordeals.) I've pleaded, yelled, made annoying loser noises like they have on game shows when you get the answer wrong. I've clicked and treated, treated and clicked. Nothing works. I find myself saying, like a mantra, "Cutter didn't pull like this. Cutter walked nice on the leash. Why can't you be more like Cutter?" She hates that. It probably makes her pull harder.
A few times, I just dropped the leash and watched her trudge along. She realizes pretty quickly that I'm no longer attached, the extreme resistance is gone, it just doesn't feel right, so she comes back to me and waits for me to reattach myself at which point she pulls ahead.
We've all got places to go, things to do, but she's a dog. What could she possibly have on her schedule that makes her push ahead so strongly to get this walk over and done?
So, to all my dog walking friends out there who do not suffer regularly from shoulder dislocation and deepening frown lines, can you offer some advice? I'll give you a treat if it works. Click, click.