I love Harlow, but sometimes she can be an asshole.
A few weeks back I met with a trainer who opened my eyes to something – Harlow’s demanding nature is her version of imparting her majesty upon us. Meaning, she wants to be treated like a queen and expects that and demands it of us.
This is why she paws at people to get them to pet her, plops her body into other peoples’ personal space, or climbs all over someone and then nudges them with her big fat head if they are not actively petting her in addition to being her throne made of human.
We have been working on much of these things using super yummy dried liver treats. It’s tough though because she’s so damn smart. If I put treats in my pocket for later, she will immediately start doing “tricks” with hopes of getting the treat. The purpose of treats in my pocket is so I can reward her when she comes to me with a toy and actually responds when I say “drop it” throughout the evening. Instead, she knows I have the treat so she runs and gets a toy, plops it in my lap, sits down hard then looks from me to my treat-storing pocket and back again.
The other thing we’re working on is me dropping a treat nearby and her “staying” until she makes eye contact with me and I let her know she can get it. She’s very good at this one, and I have noticed a huge change in her toy release when we play and I ask her to drop it. All good things.
The other way in which she tries to rule the roost is on her leash. I’ve tried a prong collar which isn’t very nice, but it does make her pull a bit less hard. The trainer recommended I try a Martingale collar, so I bought one last night on my way home from work.
When it comes to Harlow, she’s just not going to do what you want her to do unless she feels like it. It’s completely infuriating. So, last night when I took her out for a walk, I decided to crack down on it, and change direction every time she pulled. Eventually, she just accepted that this was how our walk was going to go – She pulls (because she wants to), then I aggressively turn her around, harrumphing as I do so. She walks right next to me, creating slack in the leash because she knows that’s what I want. Then I turn back around and it’s not long before she starts pulling again.
She knows exactly what I want her to do, she just simply refuses to do it. As a result, walks are actually very unpleasant. I get pissed by the end rather than feel good that I stretched my legs and got her out of the house too. Meanwhile, she does not care in the least that I’m annoyed.
Now, one thing I didn’t do was continue to walk in the other direction until she started pulling again, so maybe that’s what I’ll try next time.