Tag Archives: training

STOP DRAGGING YOUR DOG

I can’t stand people who don’t treat their dogs right. I mean, who can, really? Unless you’re one of them.

“Them” includes people who leave their dogs tied up outside all day like a lawn ornament. And people who scream at their dog for every apparent wrong doing.

And especially people who drag their poor dog around on its leash.

The latter is a disturbingly common occurrence. I see it all the time; people who don’t have the patience or kindness to get their dog to move any other way besides yanking them by the collar around their neck.

Don’t get me wrong – I know there are times when you really don’t have any choice but to give the leash a little pull. Sometimes you just need to get your dog to move along from that blade of grass they’ve been sniffing for the last three minutes. Or, you know, keep them from chasing a squirrel into oncoming traffic.

But to drag your dog by the neck because you’re too lazy to train them is just wrong. And you usually find that the person is giving their dog about 3% of their total attention – because they’re too busy (talking or texting or taking an artistic picture of a fallen leaf on the ground) to pay attention to the living creature at the end of that rope.

The other day, I was walking Michga and we saw another woman with her dog coming at us from the opposite direction. I should make it clear that this was a small dog, barely bigger than Michga and posing absolutely no threat to her. It was a fluffy little thing; looked like a Maltese with a puppy cut.

When this other little dog saw Michga, it tried to bound forward as fast as it could, tail wagging. You could practically see the inner dialogue of “friend, friend, friend, friend” running through its mind.

This other woman, who was talking on her cell phone, suddenly yanked the leash back and stopped the dog so violently that it nearly fell backwards. I stopped walking, preparing to go back the other way lest I get this poor dog any more excited. But it kept trying to get forward. The lady continued to yank on the leash, the next time actually succeeding in tumbling her dog backwards.

I just wanted to scream at this woman.

What the hell, lady? Are you consciously abusing your dog?

Did you try to verbally call you dog back? No. Did you simply hold the leash still so your dog couldn’t advance further? No. Did you try picking your dog up? Walking the other way? Even just telling your dog ‘stop’? Nope. You just stood in the same spot, talking on you cell phone and ripping you dog back, either not caring or not considering that that’s a living thing you’re tearing around by the neck.

I’m not saying she shouldn’t have stopped her dog from running forward, but there are less harmful ways. If she must stop the leash, okay, but to yank it back so violently that her dog topples over – twice – is just cruel.

I just – I do not understand how someone could think this is an acceptable way to walk their dog. They act like it’s a doll or a puppet or a pet rock. I guess they either don’t think it can feel pain or they just plain don’t care.

michga is exasperated with this lady

michga is exasperated with this lady

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Imprinting

This is part four of a six part series called Our Story. 

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It was not exactly imprinting, but Michga did start following me around like a duckling.

Michga has a bit of a protectiveness issue. Plus she’s afraid of strangers and she has a mild separation problem (she doesn’t bark or whine when I’m gone, but my mother, who watches her sometimes when I go away, tells me that she mopes). I fear that I contributed to these issues with my coddling tendencies.

When she was a month or so old, I had her out in the yard. I’m not sure where her sisters were, we must have taken them out separately for some reason. The neighbor boy had a couple of friends over, and they came over and wanted to hold Michga.

she's adorable, who could blame them?

she’s adorable, who could blame them?

But Michga wasn’t very keen on the idea. She shrunk away, trying to make herself smaller, obviously a little scared. So I went over and picked her up. I told the boys she was shy and carried her back inside, cradled in my arms.

That’s around the time Michga became especially attached to me. I’m no expert on dog training, but my guess is that this was not the correct way to handle the situation. I probably should have tried to encourage her to get over her fears, instead of unconsciously encouraging them. I don’t think this single event controlled her personality or anything, but I doubt my overprotective behavior helped.

I love my little princess, personality faults and all, but I do believe she would be happier if she didn’t have this fear of strangers, so I’m trying to work on it. But it’s slow going to reverse a trait she’s harbored for the past six years of her life.

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