Cords and chains

Next Sunday will be the first anniversary of the day we drove to Dunkirk to collect Tommy from the SPA.

He’s changed so much over the last year. He is unrecognisable from the scrawny, scabby and staring-coated dog that he was then, and is far more relaxed and confident than when he arrived. He still stands at the gate looking wistful if we go out without him, but he’s no longer frantic that he’s going to be abandoned again.

The one area that we hadn’t made much progress is walking on a lead. He’s a puller, crouching low, digging in his claws and putting all his weight on his broad chest, and at 30 kilos he’s just too strong. We tried several different designs of no–pull halters, and a harness, all without success. He just pulls too much. Consequently we have been unable to enjoy taking him out, which means that we haven’t been able to enjoy going out ourselves for any length of time and leaving the dogs at home.

But I recently bought a new ‘no-pull’ halter that actually works! It’s just a few feet of soft woven cord that fits the dog’s head in a figure of eight – you loop it over the head, twist it up under the chin and loop it back over the nose. There are no straps, clips or buckles to adjust. It doesn’t ride up over the eyes, there’s no pressure on the neck, and it works like a dream.

So yesterday we went out for an afternoon on France’s ‘green Venice’ – the Marais Poitevin. As it was a sunny Sunday afternoon we wanted to avoid the busiest areas, and so headed for Magné where we followed a narrow shady lane down to the river bank. We wanted to cross the river. There was no bridge. But there was this:

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Tommy needed no encouragement to  jump aboard, but Tally was most reluctant and had to be pulled from the front and pushed from the back. 🙂 Terry then hauled us across to the far side of the very green river.

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We followed the bank along to the lock.

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The lock keeper’s cottage and two lock-winders

Tommy was interested in the lock, and the dog in the boat in the lock.

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Our walk continued over the weir.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Thanks to their halters, both dogs walked beautifully, without pulling

We didn’t meet any other walkers.

We had to wait for the return ferry.

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And then it was our turn to chain back to the other side.

All made possible by this:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s called The Perfect Pace no-pull halter leash. And it’s a “Yes” from me, a 5* product.  For the first time since Tommy arrived, we were all able to go out together, hassle-free. Who would have thought something so simple could make such a change.

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10 thoughts on “Cords and chains

  1. Tommy looks magnificent and Tally isn’t showing his age. I’ve only been to the Marais Poitevin once but would love to go back again. We used a Halti on Flynn who was a demon puller which works but made everyone think he was wearing a muzzle so must be vicious – can you get your lead in France?

    • Nice to hear from you, Victoria. You’re right about people thinking that halters are muzzles. People look at them in a very suspicious way and grab at their children to sweep them to safety. 🙂 As far as I know the leads aren’t available in Europe. I ordered from the States, postage was very cheap because the lead weighs almost nothing.

  2. I am amazed that a whole year has passed since you shared Tommy’s rescue. So glad you have found a solution to tractor pulling. He will enjoy an even better life now filled with the adventure of walks away from home.

  3. The year has galloped past. I’m thrilled that we can now take Tommy and Tally out without causing mayhem. When we took him into town last summer, he escaped from his harness, knocked over a table where people were sitting having a drink in the square, and ran into the local bar scattering terrified pedestrians. 🙂

  4. Well done Tommy 🙂 sounds like he did really well. It will now be a pleasure to walk him. That year has gone so fast. He is a beautiful looking dog Susie. Happy dog walking. Love the pics.

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