After I realized that Ginger wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon, I knew that we had to start working on getting her socialized. Of course, mastering the walk is at the top of that list. We had gone on walks with Pete and our neighbor Stella, but at the sight of other dogs, Ginger just becomes nearly uncontrollable. It’s really frustrating and sad to experience, especially because she’s very sweet and calm otherwise.
For the last few days, we’ve been taking a solo walk at night. This minimizes our chances of running into another dog and allows Ginger to focus on walking, and walking well with me. After watching an episode of “Dog Whisperer” that involved a Shepherd who was dog-aggressive while leashed, I found that using a pinch collar was possibly escalating aggression/excitement. This makes a lot of sense, because pit bulls seem to have no sense of pain; any other breed would react immediately to the discomfort of the pinch. That night I used a simple lead on her (a slip “knot” around her neck) and her pulling was noticeably reduced. She was tested halfway around the block when a couple were out walking their matching puppy bassets – off leash! The pups came right over to us, and Ginger started to really go bananas – she was yelping and straining against the leash. At one point I had to essentially suspend her so she couldn’t get to the pups. As soon as the dogs had passed, we stood together for a minute or two so G could calm down and we could continue on our walk.
When we got home from that walk, I decided that I should make a strong effort to get Ginger to wear a Halti for our walks. It’s my go-to for walking Pete, who pulled like a sled dog for a long time, even after he became desensitized to the pinch collar.
After we were all inside and calm, I put the Halti on her; of course she immediately tried to paw it off. I ran for a handful of treats, and was able to distract her for a few minutes. We sat back down and she kept pawing, but I kept correcting her. Eventually, she gave up:
Tonight for our walk, I put the Halti on her but didn’t attach the lead to it. BRILLIANT MOVE, ME! Not only did she get used to wearing it, but she can’t paw at it if I’m forcing her to walk or jog. We didn’t encounter any dogs tonight, but she was markedly more focused; she kept her eyes looking forward instead of swerving all around and tripping me. I’m looking forward to walking tomorrow, to see some more progress.