Sunday, December 04, 2005

This is why I'd rather you didn't swing around on the end of your leash like Tarzan

Mrs. Wigglebottom and I have certain understandings: I won't cut her nails--she won't bleed all over the house. I won't drop her on the edge of the tub any more because it's nearly impossible to hold a wiggly 65 pounds of anything--she'll get in the bathtub her damn self. But we are an an impasse on how to behave when we have to pass other dogs. I'd like to just coolly acknowledge their presence and then walk on by like we've got better things to do. She prefers to rear up on her back legs and swing out on the end of her leash in a menacing manner. Let's pause a moment to talk about dog collars we have owned.
  • The regular old collar--retired from service because her head is pretty much the same width as her neck, except that slight bump at the base of her skull and so she could slide out of that puppy without any problem.
  • The choke collar--retired from service because her neck is so muscular and she has such a high tolerance for pain that she could just "choke" herself on that thing all damn day without doing any actual choking, but, according to the vet, doing damage to her vocal chords.
  • The current prongy collar--Like some kind of medieval torture device, this is a series of interlocking links each with two prongs that circles her neck and functions like a cross between the choke collar and a mouth full of teeth from an angry mom. I've put that puppy on my leg and on my arm and yanked as hard as I could and it seems to distribute the force pretty evenly and so, even though it looks like it hurts, it doesn't really.

The problem with the current collar is indeed the interlocking links, because Mrs. Wigglebottom can hit the end of her leash with enough force that she can pop the collar apart.

I'm sure this must be terrifying for the people with the other dog, to see this crazed pit bull lunging out at their dog, to hear me shouting, "God damn it, Mrs. Wigglebottom, NO!" and to see that collar fly apart in two, sometimes three, pieces.

You can almost hear them silently screaming "Oh, Fuck!"

But, since Mrs. Wigglebottom is never, ever allowed outside without being on the leash and so is never outside without her collar, suddenly finding herself without it, she just immediately sits down and stares at me and waits for me to collect the pieces so that I can put it back on her.

This leads me to believe that her Tarzan-like displays are more about having a little fun at my expense than actually going after other dogs. Otherwise, when she broke out of her collar, she'd actually seize her opportunity.

I guess I could break down and buy her a chest harness. But I've been promising her a life jacket for years and never gotten her one of those either.

It'd be cheaper for me if she just learned how to behave around other dogs. Meanwhile, people with the Husky, please accept my apologies.


Blogger Exador said...

If you buy her a chest harness, prepare to be taken for a ride. My guys won't pull too hard on the choke collars, but they become sled dogs in no time with the chest harness. It usually takes a minute of so for the novelty to wear off, then they think, "Cool, he can yank as hard as he wants and it doesn't hurt or choke or anything."
My only problem is that I have a 26 foot retractable leash. If Montgomery sees a squirrel, he's off like a shot. 26 feet of acceleration is plenty. One of these days I'll calculate the force exerted to bring 110 lbs from 30 mph to zero over one foot. Then I'll compare that to medical journals on removing my arm from the socket.

Sadly, it's no exaggeration; that's how Sarcastro's non-gay brother made it to the ER.

12/04/2005 12:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mrs. Wigglebottom and my dog Percy have a lot in common, it turns out. She, too, will lunge at other dogs while on leash, making terrifying growly noises, even for a dog of her smaller stature. But if she's off leash at the dog park, then she's perfectly friendly with other dogs. Maybe it's like the way that some guys act all tough and aggressive with other men when their friends are around to 'hold them back,' but wouldn't be that way if they were to encounter the 'enemy' alone.

And don't you love the people whose dogs are off leash and are like, "Don't worry, my dog's friendly," and you're like, "That's cool but she's about to be devoured by my dog who is not-so-much."

Miss J

12/04/2005 01:49:00 PM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

Oh, Boy Scout, I hadn't even considered that. What a nightmare! She would totally pull me down, without even realizing it. What I need is some way of rigging the chest harness as a back up, so that when she lunges at the other dogs, the harness gets her full weight, not the collar.

Your dogs maimed Sarcastro's brother?

Which brings up an important side question. Why doesn't Sarcastro's brother have a blog? I'd love to read that.

Miss J., you have described my nemesises... nemesi... of the dog world: the "my dog is friendly" folks who don't keep control of their dogs.

I must say, though, that I love the notion of a fierce Percy. Perhaps those formative moments as a puppy being tossed around from rottweiler to rottweiler stuck with her.

12/04/2005 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger Exador said...

Yes, a few years back, the Missus and I were going out of town and needed someone to dogsit. Sarcastro's brother needed a place to play video games and bang his girlfriend, so it all seemed like a good idea. You should know that this boy is, or was, a skinny, little hippie. Maybe 140 lbs, soaking wet. We specifically told him to just let the dogs loose in the fenced-in backyard, but he took it upon himself to take them for a walk. I'm a little sketchy on the details because I didn't hear about it until months later, from Sarcastro. Apparently, one or both took off and dislocated his arm. He had to call his mother to take him to the ER.

12/04/2005 06:57:00 PM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

You knew the man was using your house to have actual sex with an actual girl and you haven't disavowed his mother of the notion that he's gay?

You're very cruel.

12/05/2005 08:52:00 AM  
Blogger harvestbird said...

I've been thinking hard about this; my dogs are small and feisty terriers and one once ended up with his head inside the mouth of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier (although, admittedly, it was Arthur who had slipped his lead).

Have you ever seen a double lead, normally designed for walking two dogs at once? What about a double lead for Mrs Wigglebottom, one for the collar and one for the chest harness? Most are cloth and have a loop you could slip over your hand or wrist.

You can tell I'm no longer of the set who cares what they or their dogs look like when they're out walking.

12/05/2005 04:00:00 PM  

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