Yesterday morning, Henry got a lengthy off-leash run with three black Labradors at our friends' farm.
He loves them both -- he loves the other dogs -- AND he absolutely loves going to their farm.
A few miles up the road, he realized where we were headed: and was patting both of us on the shoulders gratefully (from the back seat: he wears a seat belt in the car). Such a good dog about coming when he's called, off leash . . . and so exuberantly joyful about all that freedom and the companionship of the other lovely dogs.
When we got home, he was pretty tired!! So tired that he wasn't really all that interested in his lunch . . . lying down and looking at it in the bowl! More interested in water please. More water.
Henry has pretty much graduated to having the run of the house, and he was very good company all day -- third floor with DH (who was working away in the study up there); and second floor, first floor and back deck with me. Where the indigo bunting made another brief appearance at our bird feeder.
Shortly after supper on the deck . . . Henry indicated that he was rested up fine now and he would like a walk around the block please? Such a communicative dog . . . all this conveyed with a few low vocalizations and a meaningful glance out the window. No question he trusted I would understand.
And yes: he seems to like his new red Easy Walk harness. He sat politely while I got it snapped on, and is walking so beautifully without yanking at all.
It's the Martingale D ring where the leash is attached to his chest. For many dogs, pulling is natural (like husky dogs pulling a sled) -- towards whatever it is they want. And if they're pulling from a leash attached at the back of their neck, a dog as big as Henry has got a LOT of strength. Henry is solid muscle.
But if they're pulling from that sliding D ring on their chest, then either side, right or left, they're actually pulling themselves to turn back towards the "walker". Not what Henry wants, not at all. Much better to walk forward at a measured pace without yanking!!
Because he really does trust that we'll get to the "good stuff" and that he can sniff as long as he wants when we do. So: he really has stopped pulling. I am so grateful that our caring golden-retriever-experienced vet recommended this new harness and that I trusted her, took her advice and arranged for curbside pick up right away!! Henry will get a lot more walks because walking is a lot more pleasurable, for both of us: in the city when he cannot be "off leash".
It feels to me just a little bit like Intuitive Eating? Instead of lurching and yanking myself forward to the next food, the next meal, I'm pulling myself back around. Actually towards myself (since I'm my own "walker"). Asking myself. Trusting myself. Instead of "yanking my leash": the metaphor I frequently used when my weight blipped up to describe getting back on track, counting calories in and calories out, telling myself hunger was not an emergency, that I could not eat yet . . . because no matter how hungry I was, it wasn't meal time yet!!
Am I hungry? Have I had enough? Truly, it's no more pleasurable eating when I'm full than it is to yank yank yank my leash!!. OK then. There will be another meal: we'll get there, in due course!!