February 7, 2013

(Canine) Escape Artists

One of my more frustrating issues with Isabella has been that she is one heck of an escape artist. It's crazy, really.
Flat collars don't stand a chance. (They're fine for inside, but if we're going out other measures must be taken.)
Harnesses? Nope. Over the head, step in..doesn't matter. She's outta there.
Gentle leader? Well, if you give her half a second she uses her dew claws as thumbs in order to remove the loop off her nose.

How you ask? I have no real clue. She seems to have this magical ability to back and wiggle her way out of everything. After her trainer witnessed her freeing herself from a "no slip" (HA) harness she shook her head, and mumbled "Man, she is a smart one.."

Isabella is a fearful little thing, so her goal behind getting free is typically because something has scared her (strange car, certain people, kids, a stroller, large branches..) You never know with her. Other times I sense she just wants to show off to me that she can get out, no matter what dear ol' Mom does. Especially since it isn't like she takes off from me. Her main goal in life seems to be gluing herself to my side, actually.

Problem number 2? She is a puller. Only when she wants to be.

The gentle leader worked at first for the pulling. Unfortunately she quickly discovered that if she were to drag her face along the ground (concrete, in particular) and bloody her nose, that Mom would just take it off. *Loud sigh.*

I tried the easy walk harness. No dice. It had zero effect on our walks, and she can indeed free herself from it. Eventually, our trainer introduced us to the Sense-ation line of harnesses. She loaned us one to try during a class, and it worked! She responded very well to the harness. I bit the bullet (even after spending more than $100.00 on various types of harnesses and collars by this point,) I figured what's a little more... When the harness came in the mail, I fit her for it and got her ready for a test walk in a low traffic area. A quick loop around a quiet area. It worked! IT WORKED!

Let me say that for you one more time: IT WORKED!
She was totally under control and didn't seem at all bothered by the harness. In fact, she actually appeared to be enjoying herself. I was ecstatic! Proud even.
Granted if we are taking a trip and I don't trust her, I still toss her gentle leader in my bag...just in case. However she really doesn't seem to need it much anymore. I can say... I'm very happy with this harness. I only wish I'd found it sooner.

Due to her awesome Houdini-like talents though, we have to double clip her lead to be sure if she slips free from one device the other still holds tight. (Just for safety's sake. When she gets frightened, which is frequently, she will do anything to get away.)


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