Friday, August 3, 2012
Thanks to the Gentle Leader, I am now a happy dog walker. At least once a day I slip that little black strap over Olivia's nose and across the back of her head and off we go. She still doesn't like the leash but she is a smart dog. Gentle Leader = a walk outside. And so, she obliges with little resistance; which is not to say she likes it, her mood changes from cocky to tame the minute she sees me approaching with leash in hand. So be it.
As a consequence of our new leash, I have become a much more confident dog walker. At first, even with the Leader, if a dog was coming our way I would quickly turn around and walk in the opposite direction, not just on the other side of the street, on the other side of the street AND in the opposite direction. In fact, I would strain to look around the bend, "Is a dog coming?" I would ask myself? Better to avoid was my motto. But no longer is that a problem. Olivia just follows my lead as we calmly walk on by other dogs on their afternoon walks, not that she has a choice anymore!
Today was the first day we walked by a pack of unleashed dogs roaming the neighborhood with their owners. Turning around was an option but I was pretty sure I could control Olivia and so off we went. Despite a tug or two to get Olivia to move forward we were good. In the past, we would have had a round of circus time had she been on her old leash. Her hair would spike up, I would get tense, she would pull and bark, I would get more tense. But not today, today we just walked on by.
"Why don't you put those crazy little barking canines on a leash??" I wanted to yell out as the two women laughed and gently tried to manage their dogs. "Oh, come here Scruffy," one owner cooed. I am now like a reformed smoker. I believe everybody who cannot control their dog on a walk needs the Gentle Leader. The older woman with long gray hair who walks around the neighborhood with 5 Papillons on 5 leashes, smiling all the while her tiny little dogs growl and bark, straining on their leashes in attack mode. You, too, need the Gentle Leader, I think to myself, at least one for your crazed pack leader dog, and clearly the pack leader is not you! Today I had to laugh as a man was being walked by his large lab mixture. He nearly tripped trying to keep up. Yep, that duo needs the Gentle Leader, as well.
Who knew Olivia would become a model dog, walking around the hood like a sociable, sweet and well-behaved little pup.