Friday, December 05, 2008

Shameless Product Endorsement

Well, except I'm not getting paid.

Not long ago, a fellow blogger listed "dog owners who don't train their dogs" as a pet peeve.  Sorry.  I'm in that category.  Lucy is completely house broken, which she was not when we got her.  And she can sit.  And she does (usually) sit for me.  I think that's about it.  We're working on the not jumping on visitors thing which she is getting better about.  And I've gotten her to stop waking me up to go potty in the night.  But that's really it.

Let me 'splain.  We got Lucy in August 2006 from my father-in-law's neighbor who'd gotten her for the kids for Christmas, but decided they didn't really want a dog after all.   She hadn't been abused or really neglected.  I think she was largely ignored.  She was about 9 months old. 

I immediately started walking her almost daily.  This was a chore.  She is a pure-bred Golden Retriever.  It's not uncommon to see Goldens walking their owners.  They are high-energy dogs.  I thought, "I need to train this dog." (Especially since she was not, as I said earlier, housebroken.)  So I bought some books and videos from "Uncle Matty" (this is not the shameless plug).  Those really did help with the potty training.  And I think they would have helped with the "heel" command too, but ...

It was just barely a couple of weeks later that I was hit in the middle of the night with Trigeminal Neuralgia.  My life was turned on it's head for several months.  Not walking Lucy anymore wasn't the worst of the pet troubles we had.  We had a dwarf hamster that I stopped feeding and watering, and no one else thought to do it ... and she died.  If I hadn't been in such constant pain followed by constant drugged-upness for months, I would have felt like a monster.  As it was I felt pretty bad.

Anyway, I never got back into the walk the dog regularly thing.  Send her in the back yard with the kids and a tennis ball just seemed much easier.

Since we've moved, though, I've been inspired to really train her.  She still acts like a big puppy, and everyone would be happier with a trained dog.  I read those books again.  They are great.  But I haven't actually used them.  Then last Saturday, my brother-in-law sold the new puppy that #3 was sure was meant to be hers.  TO help ease the devastation, Larry suggested we go let her pick out a new toy for Lucy.  While toys were being analysed, I happened to see a dog harness.  It claimed that it would instantly end pulling.  I was totally skeptical.  But for $9.99, I figured it was worth a shot.

Yesterday we tried to for the first time.  INSTANT SUCCESS!  I was absolutely astonished.  This basically works by having a harness around the dog's chest with two straps that go under her "armpits" and lace through a loop.  The ends of the armpit straps are connected to another loop where you hook your leash.  So when the dog pulls, the straps tighten.  I guess this is uncomfortable, and keeps the dog from running ahead.  I am still unsure why this is more uncomfortable that the choking that always resulted in the past, but I guess it is, because it keeps her by my side.  It's a Festivus MIRACLE!

I just got back from ... walking my dog.  No choking.  No arms pulling out of their sockets.  It was wonderful.  I like walking so much better when I'm walking her.  I don't know why.  But my hope is that this will get us back to the walks that we both need so badly.  A tired puppy is a good puppy.  And a walking Mina will hopefully be a skinnier Mina.

* Note:  If you are interested in this product, check it out with the link above, but don't buy it there.  It's $16.48 there versus the $9.99 that I paid at Walmart.

*Another Note:  Here are photos of us, post-walk.  I was trying to show the harness, but she wanted to lay down and have her belly rubbed, so there was limited success.  Isn't she pretty, though?

Oh, my!  Let's zoom out, shall we?

Ok, not a bad shot of the harness, but what the heck is she doing?  
Can't she see I have a camera in my hand?  Come on ... smile!

Well, now cute puppy and no harness.  BAAAAAA!

Ok, finally!  A little of the cute dog.  A little of the harness.

16 fishy comments:

clan of the cave hair said...

one of those plus an auto-feeder might have saved poor gunny-bear (Gunner...common, like I would actually name a dog "gunny bear")from getting sent to a new home. But don't tell Gabe that.

rachel said...

She's an adorable dog! I 'm so sorry about your pain! Are you feeling better now? I have Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and it took one year of horrible pain and misdiagnosis to figure it out. I hope you are doing better!! The harness sounds like a great FESTIVUS miracle- love it :D

April said...

Aww I want to have a photoshot with MY pets!! Cute!

Mina said...

Lisa--Good, I hope Gunny makes the cut. What kind of dog? How old?

Rachel--I got a relatively quick diagnosis, only about a month and only 4 wisdom teeth extracted that probably could have stayed. The meds I take (which no longer make me too drowsy, only a little ditzy) pretty much control the pain. BUt it's an anti-convulsive that's hard on the liver, and most folks eventually build a tolerance. So the next two summers I'm having brain surgery to try to actually remedy the problem. I'm nervous. I'm most nervous that I'll do it and it won't work. We'll see.

Jillene said...

What an ADORABLE dog!!

Mina said...

Lisa, I read that verb tense incorrectly. Sorry about Gabe's loss.

Kristina P. said...

You are both adorable!

And now I feel bad for judging the woman in the car, walking her dog beside it. But not really, because she doesn't have any sort of handicap, preventing her from walking it appropriately.

CaJoh said...

My mother used to work as an orthopedic nurse and had a patient with a 2 year old doberman that he could not have anymore so we adopted Alexis and kept her ever since.

Anonymous said...

Very cute puppy!!!

Octamom said...

She's got such an awesome smiley dog face! Glad you've discovered a piece of equipment that is making things work for both of you!!

Oh, and I did check...bunny slippers are vetted as appropriate footwear for couch jumping...

Wendyburd1 said...

You are both adorable!! Max isn't "trained" but except for a few things, is just Great! He is very cranky lately and CUJO-face growls at us, if he bites we are going to the trainer. But he went on the pee pad the first night we had him, he was only 12 weeks old!! My pookie bear!

Diane said...

Cute pictures, maybe that is what I need, a dog to take me for a walk.

Heatherlyn Colt said...

Hi! This is a fantastic way to get to know you better. I'm glad that you are in our ward. I grew up with golden retrievers and I love them. (My husband now is allergic to most dogs (and cats and cows and horses etc.) so we don't have a golden now.)

I think that is concerning about the possible brain surgery. My Mom had brain surgery about 8 years ago. She recovered completely. I hope that this is an issue that will eventually heal and pass for you. Sometimes these medical trials help us to grow closer to the spirit--but then they just need to go away!

I hope you have a lovely week.

Tink said...

What an adorable dog! And like you, I fall in the same category of untrained dogs (Beagles). But the harness was one of our God-sends. I can actually WALK the dogs without being taken for a ride! Wahoo!

Kim said...

Harness or no harness, can you picture me walking my Indi? You're so much nicer to animals than I am, despite the hamster mishap. Good for you for getting out there and walking! I could definitely use it, but I'm choosing the flabby, roly-poly look for now. Bet Lucy loves going on walks with you again! Congrats on finding the perfect solution to the walking woes! Isn't it fun when you find one of those gimmicks that actually works? And to find it at Wal-Mart is even better.

Kenny Kellogg said...

Hi Mina - I found your blog post via a search on Google for Trigeminal Neuralgia. I'm sorry your life was turned upside down. Great to see you're back with your dog though.

Not sure if you are still experiencing symptoms, but my friend Ben and I started a patient to patient support group called LivingWithTN ( for people with Trigeminal Neuralgia. Check it out or refer a needy patient to it. We started it 3 weeks ago and already have 50+ people providing support to each other on it.