Teddy and Fall Update

I might be a little achy today, but it’s essential to carpe the diem, so after lunch I put his regular halter on Teddy and then the head collar. He was VERY happy, sure we were going somewhere. I soon took it off. Then I took my time getting ready for a walk having learned he would sit still for me to adorn him in his new control apparatus. The regular halter connects to a “seat belt” in the car and Teddy recognizes it as his “coat.” “Put your coat on” means we’re going for a walk.

When he was a puppy, I tried the head collar, and he wouldn’t have anything to do with it. He did what a lot of dogs do; he pulled at it with his front legs, tried to rub it off on the ground, and generally STOPPED walking with it so I gave up. Today was completely different. He’s not a puppy anymore; he’s a mature dog of 4.

I made Bear stay home since this was going to be Teddy’s Day to Learn, Dammit! My goal was to take him to his favorite place to his favorite walk and show him nothing would change except he’d have a head collar. It was a good strategy. For a while, at first, he tried to get it off but all the good smells tempted him away from that and pretty soon he was just walking along as usual except that when he pulled, the head collar made him turn around and look at me. I’ve long understood that when Teddy is under the spell of “the wild” his mind empties of everything else.

When I took other dogs to puppy school in days of yore, “Watch me!” was the first command they learned. That’s what you want your dog to do; know you’re there and pay attention to your commands. Since I long ago quit commanding dogs around, I didn’t emphasize this with Teddy.

Bear didn’t need to be taught and Huskies don’t learn it. I also think living with Huskies made me a lazy dog owner. They are what they are and it’s pretty much take it or leave it, and, like Huskies, Bear is less mastered by her human than she cooperates with me. Teddy is another kind of dog completely and I haven’t had one like him in a long time — if ever. He’s incredibly smart. Dusty was the last “normal” (and he wasn’t normal) dog I have had. Bear and I did obedience school together, but after that, I used the head collar with her. I knew her by then and there was no reason for me to command her around. She responds much better to a soft voice saying, “Bear, walk with me,” than she did to “Bear, HEEL!” I now know that dogs of her type are just like that. Their whole mission in life is to keep everything calm so they can recognize the enemy if one appears.

Yesterday showed me I had to get on the ball with Teddy. By the time we’d gone 1/4 mile, Teddy got it. The thing about the head collar is that if he pulls too far ahead, the collar will turn his head back toward me. He loved that. It was as if everything that drew his attention away from me happened but then, to his surprise and joy, he found me again. Only one other dog in my experience reacted that way to the head collar; Persie the Sweet Pit Bull.

We had a wonderful walk; slow, because I’m achy, and my knees hurt, but peaceful and successful. A car came by and Teddy was no problem to control. I’m proud of my little dog for learning so quickly.

10 thoughts on “Teddy and Fall Update

    • Yay snow!!!! Not the most fun walk today but not the worst, either. I think the same as you; walk if you can and when you can (or bike… 😉 ) And Teddy is an extremely happy dog. That was just what he needed, maybe wanted.

  1. I refer to those Halties/Gentle Leaders as power steering for dogs. Used one on a young Maia (Malamute) when we were learning to run together in a park where there were lots of squirrels. Life changing, for both of us. I’m glad Teddy “got it” so quickly, so now your lives – and Bear’s as well – will improve with more frequent and calmer walks. Win-win-win!

    • I’m happy — and six weeks ahead of the advent of the crane tourists so there’s time to train. I think Teddy will be like Dusty who soon learned to walk with me with or without the Halti.

  2. Teddy’s growing up — and he’s had a chance to see that it doesn’t harm Bear during your walks. Will you still walk with them separately, though, until he’s really used to the new routine? I’m glad you weren’t seriously hurt, but do be careful out there!

    • Teddy is definitely growing up, finally! 😉 I’m going to walk them separately for the next few days just to be sure Teddy really gets it and I can give him my full attention. What happened yesterday could have been very very bad for all three of us. I could’ve been hurt and my friends might not have been able to hold the dogs. It’s wide open country out there which (I think) is still safer than city streets, but not good. I’m sure Teddy would have found people, but no idea what Bear would have done — very likely stayed with Teddy because that’s her job. She might have tried to protect him from people who would try to help them. No idea. They might both have gone to people, but I have no way to know and I don’t ever want to know. There are two other dogs like Bear out there. One has a herd of sheep, the other a herd of cattle. They are pretty far away, but that’s normally what dogs like Bear do. They could’ve ended up shot.

  3. Teddy is a smart one and it shows as he accepted the haltie quickly. I think most dogs are like children and want to have boundaries. I’m also relieved that you and the dogs are all okay! ❤

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