Saturday, March 12, 2011

Ready to Run!

For those of you who are parents I'm sure you can imagine or worse yet have experienced those moments when you couldn't find your child.  Maybe at a store you turn around and where your kid once was looking at a toy was suddenly gone.  I've had many of those moments with Leloo.  Huskies are known for their strength and speed.  Breed for pulling sleds in Arctic conditions.  Well that same strength and speed is great for running the Iditarod, but not so awesome in Indiana.  Flat land, corn fields are more or less race tracks for them. 

We have been through several different kinds of leashes, collars and tie downs trying to keep Leloo safely in our yard.  We have finally settled on a steel chain tie out until we can afford a fence.  I have several escape stories.  One of my favorites is when she was about 6 months old, I wanted her to play outside without me but within my sight.  So I hooked two leashes together and tied the leash to our deck post.  She was outside for about an hour.  I looked out to check on her and she was on the porch again.  A minute later I didn't see her.  I stood up to see if she was just out of view.  All of a sudden she was at the edge of our property sniffing a tree.  Of course, the second I ran out the back door she took off even further away.  Right into the corn field behind our house.  I looked down and realized she had chewed right through the leash.  Now I'm running through the corn field with her constantly 50 feet ahead of me.  Every foot closer she would increase her speed.  She'd look back and see I was still chancing her with her big husky smile, tongue hanging out.  After probably 20 minutes of running and walking I stopped and knelled down.  At the time the corn was 2.5-3 feet high.  I could see her tail bouncing over the corn, so I could see her.  When I knelled down, she couldn't see me.  She would run back.  When I realized this worked I started dipping down to see if she would come all the way back to me.  That really started to work, but then the second she could see me again she'd take off.  The last time I knelled down I waited to hear her dog tags rattling. The rattling was now getting further away.  I stood up and suddenly I couldn't see her.  I start screaming for her and...nothing!!  I was in a panic.  Just then I noticed the wind is picking up and the corn were swaying.  I look up at the sky and the clouds are getting darker.  Then BAM!!!  Lightning strikes the neighboring corn field.  Great now it's storming.  I start screaming for her even loader and nothing still.  I decided I better take shelter so I head back to the house.  About 10 feet from the edge of the field.  I hear her tags rattling.  All of a sudden there she is running to me from our back yard.  She came back to the house the way we had left it.  I guessed when she couldn't see me she panicked too.

What we've learned:
  • Collars must be made of thick nylon at least with large metal buckles.  They can not hang or dangle in any way to where your husky can chew on it.  It must be tight at all times around their neck.  Use the one finger rule.  If you can get a finger between their neck and the collar it's just tight enough.  Do not feel bad for keeping it tight.  With all their fur it appears to be tight, but it's not tight enough to chock them. 
  • When a fence is not an option, get a tie-out made of metal specifically the chain kind.  Don't make the assumption that if their is a husky on the packaging that it's strong enough for them.  The stake needs to be able to go down at least a foot and a half.  But the main issue I have with stakes are they work great as long as it hasn't rained lately.  Don't use if the soil is muddy.  Your husky will pull that stake out of the ground like it's slicing butter.  Also the chain needs to be at least 20-30 feet long so the dog can have plenty of room to run.
  • Finally for leashes buy the thick double handle kind at least 6 feet long.  It looks like a regular leash, but it has a second loop near the hook.  This second loop gives you extra grip for when you see other dogs, cars or people.

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