Thursday, April 12, 2012

Freedom Harness vs. Dog Mom

Look at my thumb:

Do you know why my thumb is bandaged? No? Because I'm a good dog momma. Maybe too good.

We just got the Freedom harness, because Des grew out of his Easy Walk and I don't think the Easy Walk was really working that well for us anymore--granted, that may be due to it no longer fitting--so I thought I'd branch out. Plus, as a future trainer, it's good to be knowledgeable about various training products. (Hey, maybe I can deduct it from next year's taxes...)

For reference, the photo above includes the EzyDog leash we reviewed months ago and still love, the Freedom, and the Easy Walk. And also my dog-walking hat. No sunglasses allowed (not that I need them at 5:30 AM), only hats. Your dog needs eye contact to understand your attempts at communicating.

See how the Easy Walk isn't fitting quite right? It's too small now, so it pulls and shifts and pushes in all the wrong places. Plus, the parts I need to stay tight don't stay tight. And I'm not sure it was ever really wide enough anyway.

I have spent a week or so showing the new harness to Des, having him touch it, putting it on but not closing it, closing it but keeping it loose, and all that good stuff you should do--with lots of treats--to desensitize your dog to a weird contraption thingamajig.

The weird contraption thingamajig

This morning, I started to tighten/size it before briefly putting it on him, and when I was clasping the straps together, I ran into trouble.

Trouble = injury.

I already knew the clasps were somewhat tough to handle. They're pretty heavy-duty plastic, which is good but means they snap sharply and loudly when you click them into place.

See? Heavy duty.

The first time I did it the other day, I was unsuspecting and poor Desmond jumped out of his skin. The clasps are not too far from his ears. I apologized profusely and gave him lots of loving after, because I felt like a dumb jerk. I should have known better. Not-so-good momma.

Since then, I have been very carefully clicking those bad boys together. This morning, Des wouldn't pick his head up for me (he was sniffing toward my treats pouch on the floor next to where I was kneeling) so I knew the snap would be super loud.

But by using extra caution, like a good momma would, I somehow managed to make the clasp pop back toward my finger after it was halfway in. I guess it used its kinetic energy to sort of spring back at me full force. Or would that be potential energy? Ugh. This is why I dropped my physics class--not once but twice--in high school.

Anyway, it slammed into to tip of my nail and bent my nail in such a way--and I don't know how this is even possible--that the middle of it cracked but the tip remained unharmed. Ouch times 10. Also, blood. Quite a bit more blood than I'd have expected.

I screamed and cursed bloody murder when it happened (husband came out of the shower and everything), so Des got scared, ran away, then came back over and threw up. While still semi-wearing the harness. Now he's probably scared of the harness. Oy vey. 

So here I am in a bandage, thumb throbbing, typing on my phone in such a way that I'm getting a pinky cramp. All because I was so concerned about my pup's ears.

But how could I not be concerned about this cutie's ears?

When we finally get it together here and have a fitted, in-action harness, I'll report back with opinions, but so far it's Freedom harness: 1, dog mom: 0.
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