Saturday, August 4, 2012

Hurley Badger Don't Care: To Mom's Advantage

Most of the times, Hurley's alter-ego Hurley Badger Don't Care means that he's getting into mischief.  Things like busting out of screen windows and destroying dog tents are par for the course around our house.

But there are times when the Hurley Badger's personality can be used to his parents' advantage.

Like with training gear.  Hurley Badger Don't Care about wearing harnesses, halters, packs.  Don't nothing bother Hurley Badger!

Until now, my walking gear of choice has been the Easy Walk Harness.  Back in the day, before I knew anything about training dogs, we tried almost every type of harness & training collar under the sun to get Maggie to walk nicely on a leash.  On that list was the Gentle Leader.  She hated it.  Hated it. HATED IT.  So much so that one day, she just chewed the darn thing up and that was the end of the Gentle Leader.

Then we found the front clip harness and our lives were forever changed.  Both Maggie & Sadie walk so well on it that I'd never considered using a different type of harness with Big Boy Hurley.

That is, until the front clip harness started losing its effectiveness.

We've been working so hard with Hurley walking with one of his sisters.  On his own, he's great on a leash.  Add in one of his siblings and you'd think the Dude had never walked loose leash style before.  It's a little bit jockeying for front position but mostly just trying to get to that thing on the ground that might be yummy before his sister can get to it.  And playing bitey face.  He really loves bitey face walks.  He's so strong nowadays that even with the Easy Walk, he can easily drag me down the sidewalk in his quest to reach a pine cone before Maggie. 

We are taking a vacation with all 3 dogs next week so getting them to walk nicely together is paramount to us enjoying our vacation and the dogs getting to explore places with us rather than being stuck in kennels at the rental cabin.

Earlier this week, the Hubster asked me to bring home the Gentle Leader head halter.  Recalling Maggie's hatred of this tool, I was a little skeptical that it would work for the Hurley Monster.  But when the Hubster asks and asks to use training gear that I have no strong objections to, I leap to obey. 

Home came the Gentle Leader.  Out came the clicker.  My only goal the first time was to get him to accept a loose loop around his snout for 5-10 seconds.  That's acceptable progress for the first time a head halter goes on a dog and many dogs take much longer to accept it.  (Maggie's hatred of it definitely stems from our lack of knowledge when she was a puppy and forcing the halter on her too quickly.)

2 minutes into it, Hurley was sitting nicely with the halter hanging loosely around his snout.  5 minutes into it, it was tightened and secured around the back of his neck.  8 minutes in, I left it on for 30 seconds and he didn't tried to get it off.

10 minutes after starting to introduce the halter to him, we went on a walk around our block.

Gentle Leader success!

Is it because Mom knows her stuff now?  Or is because Hurley Badger don't care 'bout no harness around his snout?

I'm going with the latter.

PS.  The Hubster was right about the Gentle Leader working for Hurley.  So far, he's amazing on walks.  Granted, it's only been 2 walks and the real test comes tomorrow morning when we add one of the girls to the walk but so far so good.  Enjoy being right, baby!  'Cause you know how often that happens. ;)


  1. woo hoo! I hope it keeps working for ya!

  2. I'm glad you found something that works for you. We are currently using the easy walk harness with Delilah and I like it, except I don't think it is teaching her to walk without pulling. It is just a tool that manages it.