Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What's Your Dog's Security Blanket?

Desmond's is a leash handle. This very expensive leash handle that we have to replace every couple of months due to dog destruction: EzyDog Mongrel Leash Handle.

We have been using the leash handle as an actual leash handle ever since we did this review, way back in 2011. Well, not the exact handle we got for that review. No no. Des has gone through many by now. (But I will say that we have only had to replace the actual lead part of the Mongrel once since 2011. We're big fans of this leash.)

What we didn't know was how big a fan of the leash Desmond was until our Hurricane Sandy displacement began. One of the weird ways his anxieties manifested was with him feeling compelled to grab the leash handle with his mouth, regardless of whether or not someone was holding it. Yikes.

After he managed to gross up the first one, we realized this new behavior wasn't going anywhere--and we had to order a new handle for the leash itself anyway, so we passed along the old handle to Desmond to use as a pacifier of sorts. And it worked!

Ever since, we have been ordering new handles when the one he's using gets grimy or chewed up. We put the fresh and clean new one on the leash, and we pass over the old leash handle to Des for security blanket purposes. It's an odd system, but it works for us.

It helps him stay calm in a variety of situations--and it of course gives him something else to grab at besides hands (which is his all-time favorite guilty pleasure activity) when he gets excited or nervous. We've taken to bringing it with us everywhere, as you would your child's favorite stuffed animal.

Random benefit of this strange practice? Hilariousness.

Could we have trained him to not grab at the leash handle? Sure we could have. But our main focus was and continues to be keeping his anxiety level as low as possible. And if a silly little leash handle helps us achieve that goal, so be it.

Now he goes and retrieves it anytime he feels he needs it. Or if he's getting worked up about something, we can tell him, "Go get your handle!" and he runs off all determined and then comes marching back with it in his mouth, rather proud of himself and just a bit calmer.

We can't be the only ones with a security blanket for our dog, right? Heck, yours may even be an actual blanket! We'd love to hear your stories. Hit us up in the comments--what's your dog's pacifier?

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