On More Depressing Dog Training Moments

By Lynn –

For every one success story, there have to be at least two more where I just stand in the store and repeat the Serenity Prayer to myself. Granted, I’m not even religious, and it took me 10 minutes just to remember the darn saying so I could repeat it to myself when needed, but man alive…some people you just can’t beat. And no I ain’t joinin’ them either.

A week or so ago, a couple came in with their shepherd/husky mix. Beautiful dog, but the owners left something to be desired: the husband was the gangsta-type, all tough and whatnot about his dog, the dog had a belt for a leash, and the wife…well, don’t remember much of her, but she definitely didn’t say anything that made me think that she was any smarter about dog care than her husband. So we asked if we could help them.

They wanted to know why their dog was escaping his tie-out so often, for starters. Well, it couldn’t have been that it’s beginning on mating season now, is it, and the dog happened to have balls that poor Uly would find handy instead of his one egg? So we mentioned getting him neutered, but no, apparently even the VET said he’s too old to be neutered. Mmmm-hmm.

So what now could they use to keep him from escaping when he’s on his tie-out? They head to the check-chains, but since my co-worker is taking care of them, it doesn’t dawn on me until the hubby’s tossing chains over the dog’s neck like horsehoes that something might be wrong here. “Are you using the chain for training or for a tie-out?” I ask. “Oh we’re looking for something he can’t escape from, he’s broken them airplane cables even, he’s so strong,” he replies. I bite my tongue and instead of telling them that yes, their dog will not escape from a choker because it’ll freaking KILL it not to mention that he’s fitting the chain completely wrong, just explain that a chain is not meant to be used with tie-outs because it could get caught on something and literally choke his dog.

So then we asked about a proper leash instead of the belt. “Oh, we got tons of leashes at home, we just never remember to bring one with us,” is the reply. I’d love to see the look on any police officer’s face when they explain this to him because, well, I don’t know about y’all, but where we are, when in public, a dog is REQUIRED to be on-leash unless under strict control. My managers’ dogs pass this test. This poor mutt though, not so much.

And then the poor mutt misbehaves and doesn’t listen when they tell him to sit. Hubby grabs the dog roughly around the neck and says “Nein.” Hexen, my first thought was to break up in complete laughter (and I almost did), but then I just turned around and did a *facepalm* because really, there was nothing else I could do. People have called me a know-it-all when it comes to dogs and dog training, but man alive, “NEIN”?!?! I think by this time I’d gathered the remnants of the Serenity Prayer back together in my mind and was repeating it to myself with gusto.

Well, they end up leaving with a dog license (late fee added with joy, might I add) and a harness that they were sure he couldn’t escape from. I didn’t know at the time, but oh yes those things can be slipped with ease, as demonstrated by a German pinscher at another time.


And then there’s the tale of The Great Dane and the Show Chain.

The Dane is about a year old and with experienced Dane owners, so they know what to expect and how to handle such a huge dog. This thing is absolutely a giant by now too, coming up to my waist (and I’m only 5’8″!) and giving me the LEAN treatment and saying “Pet me, you fool!”

I guess they thought it was time to start really training him, so they asked to look at check chains. But not the ones we had in stock on the collar rack, they were looking for something in particular, some type of chain they’d used on their last dog “that stretched.” No, it wasn’t a nylon choker, and they definitely weren’t interested in the regular check chains (though they did use those to find a proper fit, which STILL ended up being too large), so they asked to look through the Coastal catalogue to see if anything fit their mind’s description of this strange chain.

They settled on a show chain. No amount of explaining otherwise would sway them.

We ordered the chain and watched for it (my quick-release HS prong collars were in the same package, so I was extra-excited for this order). When it came, I looked at the tag, and right there it said “For Show Purposes Only!” (I was not too excited when my prong collars came in…US$37.99 for the small size and US$40.99 for the med size! Talk about “WHOA, sticker shock!” But I got them anyway :\ ) Oh well, no changing some people I guess…they were excited to put it on him and see how it looked, and of course, he looked like he was ready for the show ring. Such a thin chain could only be comfortably used at the show ring anyway: I could only imagine it causing the dog more discomfort than necessary because of the thinness of it digging into the neck with a motivational correction!

My co-workers and I have a running bet (no losses or gains to anyone though) on how long it’ll be before the family comes back in with a broken chain because they corrected a bit too hard.