I told this story over lunch at the last ClickerExpo, and it occurred to me that it might make a good blog post.
Years ago, a woman approached me. “Are you the trainer here?”
“I am. What can I help with?”
“My dog gets out of his harness and runs off to jump on other dogs. He pulls real hard, then he wriggles out of it and goes to the other dogs. It’s real annoying and it’s getting us in trouble.”
I nodded. “Yeah, I can see how that would be a problem. And he’s pulling in the harness?”
She gave me a flat look. “He’s a Husky; of course he’s pulling in the harness.”
I nodded again. “Well, we can work with that, too. But I’d definitely start by changing what he’s wearing, maybe use a martingale collar instead of the harness, so he can’t slip out, and that will keep him secure while training to fix his approach to other dogs.”
The woman gave me a hairy eyeball. “Not use the harness?”
“Well, no, I wouldn’t, since he’s getting out of it so easily, and–”
She threw her hands into the air. “Well, that’s about the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard! How the $*&@ is he supposed to pull a sled in a collar? Why would I drive all the way to Michigan for mushing races and then put my dog in a #&*@$ collar instead of a harness? That’s just ridiculous!” And she wheeled and stomped away, muttering to her friend about what a moron I was.
Mushing races. Oh. Yeah, that might have been a nice detail to have known.