Leash walking and socialization report

This week Chico and I are in Washington, DC, visiting my dad. Chico has to do a lot of walking on a leash here, lots more than up in rural New Hampshire.

After a small incident with a golden retriever a few weeks ago (no one was harmed, but it was upsetting to all involved), I decided to use Chico’s harness when we go to the city. His harness has the ring for attaching the leash in the front, on his chest and that greatly reduces a dog’s desire to pull. It also means that if Chico loses his cool and lunges at something, as soon as he hits the end of the leash, he gets spun around and is facing me, not whatever is bothering him.

And the verdict is that between our leash walking practice and the harness, I am walking a different dog. Yes, he stops to sniff more than I’d like, but he doesn’t drag me all over the place. His confidence has grown too, becauseĀ  he doesn’t lunge at passing buses like he did a couple years ago, he can sit and watch joggers go by us without thinking they need correcting, he was able to walk right by my side at the ‘heel’ position while a baby carriage went past us in the other direction. It was a whole heck of a lot like walking a dog, not some big battle for control.

When we got back to my dad’s place, there was an activity taking place in the common room by the elevators…

and this woman really, really wanted to pet Chico. I stayed close for a good long minute, but then was able to back off enough to get a picture. Being wedged in between the couch and coffee table is Chico’s choice. In this picture you can tell he wasn’t 100% relaxed, but he was a good camper and went with the program.

And here’s a gratuitous shot of him being cute in the dog bed they keep in this lounge to make it feel homey:

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