It’s time to accept the fact that when I walk our three retired racing greyhounds in my quiet little neighborhood, I am a complete and total spectacle! One greyhound is exotic enough, two’s company and three’s a crowd! Passersby might wonder, “Did the circus come to town or what?!”
Enhancing the 12-legged spectacle is that each dog is wearing a different piece of equipment, or even two. The easiest dog I have to walk is Manx (named for the Norton Manx racing motorcycle of old). Manx is a handsome blue brindle guy (slowly turning white) who has never entertained the thought of pulling on leash. Manx is content to cruise along, stopping to read his “pee-mail” on every canine bulletin board and simply gather as much data as canine-ly possible. If he had been born a human, he’d surely earn a living as a quantitative researcher creating sophisticated models based on complicated algorithms of who’s been where doing what when and what they had to eat. Even so, he only needs a simple Martingale collar. Pulling has never been an issue for him, and in fact would expend priceless energy he reserves for sniffing.
Corsa, my brilliant female hound, used to enjoy pulling on leash almost as much as she enjoys food. There was just nothing better. When I experienced her impressive pulling prowess I quickly realized a simple Martingale collar would not suffice. I quickly changed her to an Easy Walk Harness. The Easy Walk neutralizes what is called the opposition reflex which is what makes it so fulfilling for dogs to pull. A standard harness on which the fitting comes off the back of the dog’s shoulders actually increases pulling while a front fitting harness like the Easy Walk or Sensation harness reduces pulling. Later in life Corsa was diagnosed with various spinal issues so the Easy Walk harness is just how she rolls now.
Our new addition, Niki came to us from a dog track in Tucson, Arizona. He is still learning about life “on the outside.” He was so thrilled to be out in the world that he slipped right out of an Easy Walk harness (much to the horror of the volunteer walking him) but thankfully did not run away. So Niki now wears both a Spook Harness and a Gentle Leader which requires two separate leashes. There’s no getting away or pulling now for Niki, and he’s gradually ceasing to attempt either.
Once you get the hang of walking three very large dogs each of whom have very different ideas about the walk and walking styles, are wearing four different pieces of gear and impacting you and your own balance differently…it’s a piece of cake! That is, until you have to slow your dog train down to pick up poo or you’re all surprised by a fearless taunting cat along the route, or a squirrel on the phone line above. Then it really is a three-ring circus! “Let the show begin!”