Saturday, January 12, 2008

Kuvasz Kryptonite

Gentle Leader Head Collar in Action

With my shoulders still healing and one to be operated on next week, walking an 80+ pound puppy can be a little difficult. So I use the Gentle Leader headcollar, which Biggie hates. It attaches under the chin and gives a lot more control over the dog's direction. He runs when he sees it come out, even if he has to go. He paws at it, rubs his nose on every conceivable surface, and try to get other dogs to help him get it off. When it first goes on, he slumps and hangs his head in shame, and while he walks beautifully with a loose lead, it is a slow, plodding, depressed walk. People who don't know dogs see a big dog with a strap around his mouth and immediately think that he is a vicious, uncontrollable attack dog.

One unexpected benefit of the Benevolent Dictator is that Biggie hates it so much that it has stopped his sock stealing. When he's not wearing the Kim Jong Il, we place it on top of the laundry pile and, voila! no more hamper diving!

So, here's an update on Biggie's resolutions:
1. No more Cujo.
He's gotten more protective of me since I got hurt, but he's going off on fewer people. We're better at anticipating what will set him off, and distract with treats, lavish praise when he lets a horse, bicycle, skateboard, loud car, person with luggage, etc. pass without barking. Kim Jong Il helps.

2. Sock stealing
Kim Jong Il works like kryptonite and we didn't have to resort to scolding the laundry, but unexpected side effects include wastebasket foraging - paper and fur from his brushes are his favorites.

3. Separation anxiety
Having interactive toys and toys that work off his energy help a lot, and limiting those toys to when we leave gives him a positive association with our departure. He playing with his Kong roller when we leave, but he doesn't cry any more.

4. (Gentler) Crotch sniffing
Still working on this using "leave it."

5. Wastebasket diving and sidewalk surfing
Sidewalk surfing is much better with the Kuvasz Kryptonite on. He is also learning better self- control and the "leave it" command.
Wastebasket diving on the whole is slightly better because we don't chase him when he has something in his mouth, but he checks out the wastebasket more because he is avoiding the laundry. We use "leave it" as he approaches the wastebasket and he gets rewarded with attention and play if he ignores the wastebasket. But if he's gotten into it when we're not looking, game over. Then we move into Plan B - expressing loads of interest in an approved toy, until he drops the toilet paper/feminine product/napkin/receipt and comes over to play.

1 comment:

Huck said...

Get well soon, Biggie's Mom! Sorry about your shoulders.