Thursday, February 21, 2013

Doggie Bliss

Can we say spoiled???? I had about an hour break today between errands and decided to try my hand at making a "no-pull" harness for my beloved black lab, Bones. While he's attached at the hip to me when we're at home, he sometimes gets it in his thick skull that pulling when he's walking with me to and from the school in the afternoons is a great idea to pull me off course. He, he, he..... *evil grin*

So, I measured him using the 1" black nylon webbing that I have in my stash, and worked furiously to get it done before my next errand run. His first "try on" only included the top part. The second one went over his shoulders and under his chest. So far, so good.

THEN, for the next dry run, I included the chest strap (that has the clasp to lead the dog by). In order to do that, I had to clasp the parachute buckle that goes over his shoulders. Suddenly, he and my other two, lovable, adorable, but super-freakin' heavy pups decided that this was close enough to a true harness. Harness = walk. Walk = wagging tails and sticking noses in my face.

Unfortunately, if one dog goes, then all three WANT to go for a walk. This doesn't mean that all three get to go for a walk. Just means that they WANT TO. With these three, it means the following:

Bones: Rolls on his back as you try to latch a harness. Belly rub, too, Mom?
Sally: Very excited tail-wagging. Sometimes knocking stuff off of whatever surface it touches. Or into the walls. Also occasionally means the high-pitched notification bark that none of us like to hear from her. Ouch.
Panda: Cutesy husky mode. Tail curled up high, ears perked. HOWLING. Never fails. Bouncing and jumping everywhere.

So, I'm going with a dry-run of a potential harness, and I can't get any of the three of them to settle long enough to try it out on Bones.

I did finally get it completed (with trials), and got to test run it on each of them. Bones stayed more by my side than ever. Only a couple of sideways pulls, but not long or hard. Panda *shock-face* stayed calm and didn't pull. This isn't his usual operating mentality. He's the musher who pulls the sleigh, bike, wagon, whatever is behind him. Often this involves chasing a squirrel. We had a squirrel and a stranger as temptations during his trial run. No pulling (ok, a little, but nothing like normal where I feel I must get my shoulder set back into joint afterwards). Sally, she's such a special case all around. She's a bit unhappy with me right now. We couldn't go for her walk. The harness doesn't go down small enough to fit her slim chest. But what we did try it seemed to work for her. She didn't keep lunging when I turned to go back inside.

Overall, great test-run (and yes, construction and testing within an hour), and I have one working harness. Now to get the hardware to make two more custom harnesses.

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