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Effingham Magazine

Carter’s Corner: Advice from a Dog’s Perspective

Carter’s Corner: Advice from a Dog’s Perspective


Dear Carter,

I love pulling on the leash when we go for walks. My mom pulls back at me and then I know the game is on—I pull even harder. I love it. But my mom shouts my name a lot and yanks sharply on the leash. I’m not sure if she’s playing with me or telling me I’m doing something she doesn’t like. Can you help me under­stand what’s going on?

– Elbert, Kissimmee, FL

Dear Elbert,

Yes I can. The old tug-of-war is a fun game to play with a human but I don’t think walk time is the best time. I think your mom wants you to walk with what is called a “slack” leash. That’s when the leash is not pulled tight the entire time during your walk. I am a very intelligent dog, and educated—I’m obedient and can type and read, among other things. But lots of dogs need cues and clear directions from humans to do things their way. And I think you are a little con­fused about your mom’s actions and what you are ex­pected to do.

There are lots of good training websites available, many good books and excellent trainers for your mom to consult to help you understand her. She has obviously given you some mixed signals about pull­ing. The key for a human is to praise you when you allow slack in the leash when you are on a walk. And we all love praise, don’t we? To get that special head rub or a smile from a human is a special thing for us. One method is for your mom to immediately walk in a different direction when you start to pull. Then, when you start to walk to catch up with her, there will be slack on the leash and your mom will praise you. When you get out in front again and start pulling— boom!—she should change direction and again the leash will slacken until you catch back up. All of this is de­signed to train you to leave that “slack” in the leash and not to pull. Other meth­ods involve the human not moving when you pull and waiting you out. The human only starts walking when you aren’t pulling. Now, he or she must praise you when there is slack in the leash, so you get the idea. These training methods take time and your mom’s pa­tience, however, so don’t be disappointed if it takes a while for you to catch on. Good luck!


Dear Carter,

I’m seeing a lot of boxes around our house lately. It’s making me very anxious. Are my owners leaving me?

– Phineas, a feline from Bloomingdale

Dear Phineas,

Many families are selling their homes right now. The market is hot! This can be very stressful for the family pet. Maybe you can share some of this advice with your owners so they can make your transition smoother and you can look forward to a happy new house where you can stretch and take a good cat nap.

1. Decide how you will move your pet. Is it a car ride? Do you have a crate to keep them save while trav­eling? This can reduce their level of anxiety if they are secure and safe during the trip.

2. Keep your pet in a comfortable, safe space on moving day. Consider boarding your pet or hiring a pet sitter for that day. You may also put them in one of the empty rooms until you are ready to transport your furry friend to your new home.

3. Maintain your pet’s routine. In the days and weeks leading up to your move and the time after you move in, it is import­ant to keep the daily routine as consistent as possible. Take them on their regular walks, feed them their favorite foods and keep their bed and toys around so they begin to feel some normalcy among the chaos that is moving to a new home.