Give thanks to Jeyes Fluid

22 Sep

This was going to be an update on my running* but earlier a miraculous thing occurred.  So surprising and so humbling, it almost brought tears to my eyes and instantly decided I had to share.

Ed walked to heel.

For longer than 33 consecutive seconds (previous record was around 33 seconds, not consecutively and mainly made up of 3 second bursts).

I’d like to think it was the time I put in with him on the agility course,  maybe the respect that Ed now has for me, his desire to please me, the persisting with my plan of ‘turn around and go back in if you pull’ despite the weird looks I was getting – (in summary:  I left the house about 6 times with Ed, tried to walk, turned round when he pulled, gave him another chance, if he pulled again, went in, took off lead, sat down, tried again 10 minutes later … and again…. and again….), .  But in reality – it was the Halti.  Let me just put on record now:  I LOVE THE HALTI. 

For non-dog people, a halti is a sort of head collar – sort of like some MPs and dj’s might wear in ‘special’ basements in Soho (allegedly).  The idea is the dog doesn’t get to pull so much.  For those people with the sort of dogs that would be Head Boy and Prefect (yes, you Border Collies and Labradors) they have probably no need of such things.  Ed is more the kid in school that could be found staring out the window, planning how to get a car into the headmasters office and then encouraging others to help him do it.  He’s the one who’d be running round the playground with his coat held on only by the hood pretending to be a superhero… and then climbing up the wall of the building because the caped superhero then switched to Spiderman.  He’s the one that would cause the temporary teacher to cry … and the temporary teacher had only been brought in because Ed had made the full time one resort to keeping a bottle of whisky in his desk.  You get the picture.

We had a trial run yesterday, which mainly involved me trying to slip the collar on to Ed’s head.  Retrieving collar, attaching it to my own hand to work out how it works.  Retrieving Ed.  Rugby tackling Ed to ground and attempting to put halti on.  Retrieving halti.  sliding across floor to kick door closed and trap Ed in utility room.  Grasping Ed between my legs (those ‘special’ basements spring to mind again).  Getting halti on his head.  Retrieving bits of halti from his mouth.  Shuffling Ed against the settee and jamming him there with leg, whilst using a wrestle hold last used by Big Daddy on Giant Haystacks (yes, I know, I’m old) to keep his head still.  Retrieving halti.  Letting Ed go.  Reading instructions.  Preparing a lot of treats.  holding halti and feeding treats through the gap (back to those MPs and dj’s – allegedly).  Slipping halti on a seated Ed, whilst constantly feeding him treats.  The last part was repeated several times so that Ed could get used to wearing the halti in small bursts (I’ve paid attention to ‘Me or the Dog’.  Kind of).

Today – the Big Test.  A walk to the dog park.  The dog park is about 5 minutes walk away.  It usually takes longer to take account for the constant stopping, changing direction, trying to get Ed’s attention and every other technique we’ve been told.  Now I’ve got fairly meaty arms.  The heritage of a North England/Northern Ireland parentage is arms like a washer woman (and legs like a pit pony, but I’ll save that for a running update).  Those arms are made for hefting sacks of coal and potatoes, so I should be able to handle a 7 month puppy.  Yeah, right.  No.  That dog can take a shoulder out.  My left arm is already 2 inches longer than the right.

But with the halti (and second lead on his usual collar just in case he slipped the halti), he didn’t pull.  Ok, admittedly part of that time was because he was doing a strange walk which involved him hopping on three legs whilst scraping the head collar with a paw and gurning to the sky in attempt to get the thing off.  But at least he wasn’t pulling. In the dog park I left it on so he could get used to it, and he barely noticed it was there.  Even learnt a new trick – he can pick blackberries off the bush and eat them.

And then The Miracle.  On the walk back – he walked.  Alongside me.  Like a normal dog.  The whole way home.   It was beautiful.  Woman and dog as one (not in a special basement way, in a ‘man and beast in harmony’ way).

Oh, the Jeyes Fluid?  after a couple of weeks of trying the scary man’s advice of no treats, I’ve gone back to treats.  I needed A LOT of treats for the halti wearing and agility practice.  Sudden increase in treats might help the walking, it doesn’t help a dog’s stomach.  Or more to the point his bum.   There has been A LOT of sluicing.  But increase in Jeyes Fluid is more than worth it to save my washer women arms

Ed in the dog park, sniffing. Ok, you can’t actually see the halti, but its on.

Ed patrolling around – you will notice the strapping around face, that’s the Halti

Nothing to do with the walk, he just looks so cute!

* 5k today at 31.06 minutes.

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