03 June 2011

Adjusting to Different Gear

Thane has spent the last couple weeks with minimal walks and work, but in an older harness design which I was able to adapt the add-on loops to. His work was pretty good after a couple walks to adjust to the way the harness differences felt as he pulled into his guiding role.

The other day I found a sore beginning on Thane's lower neck area. I thought it was related to another item I was using but when I played around with his harness, I could tell it was related to it. I had forgotten that when I was using that harness, I had to add extra padding in that area. That is a big whoops.

The regular harness design has the girth strap further forward right behind his front legs. This changes how the handle pulls the harness on his body- making it a gentler pull to him.

Today I put him back in his regular setup as his skin has been healed well for about a week. I could not figure out why his work was so off. It was a beautiful sunny day which often elicits great work from him. We managed to get through our errands although it was a bit more work on my part to keep him focused and navigating well. I checked the area where the sore was and it was not the culprit. I just could not put my finger on the change after he worked so great the other day. It felt like *work* to me to be working him. Don't get me wrong. This was nothing like the hard work while in training, just his navigating was often times resistant and other times he was being overly dramatic about following edges.

I had been home for a little while and realized I felt sore. It was not the normal sore of when he has a harder harness pull as that was not the case today- nevertheless it was noticeably sore. That is when it donned on me. We had not only been working much less lately, but in a harness that was enough different structurally that it changed the angle of the handle, the distance forward positionally that he walked, and the length between connection and loop. Thane was going through adjustment to this change, just like my arm is.

Sometimes I can be a pretty dense handler LOL

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