A New Leash On Life

     Nelson, aka Slinky, is the pointer cross we adopted in April. We are his fifth owners after just two years of life. As a sled dog that lived outdoors, Nelson probably didn't see many opportunities for human interaction. When we first started working with him his lack of social skills was painfully obvious. His tail was always tightly tucked, and he crouched so far to the ground when he walked he looked like a sad Komodo dragon. We knew we had our work cut out for us with this furry puddle of anxiety.

      Nelson slowly began to realize that love was the only thing we were asking of him. We were relieved when his tail started to come out from between his legs, and ecstatic when it began to wag. We couldn't contain ourselves when it began to curl over his back with confidence. We learned that Nelson had a very good sense of humor. He loved nibbling on ears, sleeping in beds, and giving long hugs. He also had a heartbreaking cry when separated from his pack. Nelson had finally come out of his shell- so we thought.

     Although Nelson trusts and loves us, he has not forgotten his fear of strangers. When friends or family come over he runs to the edge of the property, as flighty as a wild animal. Living in the country makes it a lot easier to have an under socialized dog, but it also makes it easier to avoid addressing training issues. We don't want Nelson to miss out on activities that our other dog, Arrow enjoys. With this in mind we have started to work with him more, bringing him to public places, armed with hotdogs. It has been a challenge seeing our Nelson revert to that scared dog again, but we know with practice he will gain confidence.

We recently bought Nelson a Mudproof Martingale Collar from Planet Dog. We love that it is made by the lovely local company, Classic Hound, of South Portland.  Like his greyhound relatives, Nelson's head is smaller than his neck, and a regular collar could slip off if he "put on the brakes." As a serious flight risk, Nelson is much safer in a martingale which tightens with tension in order to prevent him from getting out of his collar. Matched with a Weiss Walkie this is the perfect walking collar for our Nelson. We chose the Mudproof design because it holds up in all weather, and the adorable bicycle pattern in hopes that Nelson will enjoy bikjoring in the fall after working through his fear of people.  Visit classichound.com to see more martingale styles and stay tuned for Nelson's progress as we sign him up for a training class!

Until next time, stay doggie!