looking inward

I’ve discovered something really interesting about my girl.

Remember I posted a week or two ago about how we saw a roo hopping across the track and Lu hardly reacted? I think her wearing a halti has had an unexpected benefit, not just in relation to her chasing things either.

I first noticed that it seemed to make her ‘zone out’ when I tried doing a rapid-fire click and treat exercise and she didn’t really seem interested in the treats. I’d always said it gave me half a dog, but this just went to prove that she wasn’t as ‘aware’ as she usually is. Then we had the time with the roo hopping across the track, and even at school with the kids playing soccer, she hardly reacts unless the ball comes really close. I don’t think this is a comfort thing, I’m beginning to think that it brings her into her self, and aware of herself, instead of having to be alert and aware of the whole world.

I saw this most obviously one day after our rehab vet appointment. We were in the waiting room to pay and there were dogs everywhere. Lu was going off her nut- launching at the end of the lead, whining and barking to try and meet the other dogs. She was feral. I was fed up so I put her halti on, at the very least to stop her launching around… and BAM… I had a calm, quiet, and sedate dog. She was still looking around at what was happening but no longer felt the need to be a part of it all.

Similarly, we were driving back to our old, empty house the other night, and the dogs were roaming around in the back of Nic’s car- Lu was so restless, coming back and forth from my lap to the boot, generally being a pain. So I tested my theory and put her halti on. She stopped, lay down on my lap and panted away. She rode the rest of the way like that.

I just find it really interesting that it seems to have this calming effect on her. She doesn’t like me putting it on but she never tries to take it off. I did some quick research and it seems there are limited reports of other people having the same benefits, and then I found that T-touch uses a figure-8 elastic in the same shape as a way to calm animals! There’s seemed to be more to lessen barking and whining but for Lu it certainly seems to just make her look inward, rather than worry about everything in the world happening.

I wonder if anybody with anxious/overly stimulated (because I think that’s what Lu is, not anxious) dogs who read this blog could try it and see if it helps them? Even if you made a figure 8 with elastic and just see if it has an effect on your dog, too.

In other news, Lu got seen by the rehab vet yesterday and apparently she didn’t do any damage to her iliopsoas the other day when she was limping, and has been given the OK to run around with Loki and wrestle, and should be starting agility again next week. YAY!


Here’s a 30 days of Mallei, too, for your viewing pleasure. (Day 23) – Mal and Loki running amok together at their new farm.

Mal and Loki



30 Days of Mallei

Day 21:


Moving day today! We might not have internet for a little while, it’ll depend on how they go setting it up. I’ll try and continue 30 days of Mal via phone and school but sorry if things grind to a halt for a few days.

This was from a walk a few days ago: Mal really likes going on logs and walking along them. He’s taught Loki all about it now. He’s never had any fear about that sort of thing. He’s a very good boy. Plus he can scout out the track from up there. He’s always been my track finder.



30 Days of Mallei

Day 20:
Throwback Thursday & some thoughts on dog etiquette.

When Mal was a young fellow, he got attacked for no reason by a big German Shepherd. Since then, with me, he’s been understandably wary around large dogs, black dogs, boisterous dogs, dogs that sniff him for too long etc.

We’ve recently taken to walking in a forest where it’s technically dogs on-lead but you so rarely see anyone there that I have Mal and Loki off lead, because their recall is good enough that I can call them back and leash them up whenever I see anybody- which I do, regardless of whether they have a dog or not.

But the other night (and about a week before this too, at a different park), somebody was coming towards us with their dog. I grabbed my two and put them on lead, and continued walking toward these people. In the most recent case, the lady had a large black rottie cross off-lead, and a staffy on lead. The Rottie comes up to us- I could tell he was a friendly dog but Lu and Mal are growling and growling because they’re morons and think they own the park and Mal is growling because it’s a big black dog. So I’m sort of pulling them away trying to get past and the lady is calling her dog and it’s coming toward us and just sniffing at my dogs and Mal’s all “GRRRR” and Lu and Loki are saying hello and it’s trying to go past them to say hello to Mal who is all “GRRRR” and I’m like, “No Mal, come on, you won’t like that one buddy, let’s keep going” and meanwhile trying to not step on the other two so we can get away from this dog, who is fine, but obviously I’m not wanting Mal to say hello, and she’s calling her dog and nothing’s happening… And during all this, Loki’s lead slips out of my hand and he trundles over to the staffy, and the lady goes: “HEY!” like, hey, watch your dog (because maybe her staffy isn’t friendly or something) and of course as soon as I call Loki he comes straight back without even saying hello to this dog, and I’m thinking: Uh, excuse you? Have you seen your other dog? Don’t get all ‘hey’ at me. Bloody hell.

And the other week this couple had 5 little yappy dogs and picked up 2 of them and 3 of them followed us yapping and sniffing my dogs and they’re like; “Oh, sorry, they’re really friendly” and I’m like: well I’m sure they are but what if mine aren’t?

I just assumed it was common etiquette that at the very least, if you saw someone with dogs coming toward you with their dogs on lead, or that they had their dogs off lead and stopped to put them on lead when they saw you, that you would do the same. Maybe you wouldn’t bother in an off-lead dog park kind of scenario but surely any place where dogs are technically meant to be on lead, you’d put them on lead when you saw other people, or other dogs? Like, if Mallei had attacked this dog, say (and he doesn’t do that, but I always worry that the other dog will attack him for his bravado), well, we’d be the ones in trouble, wouldn’t we? And they’d be all: “How dare you take your vicious dog on a walk!” and I’d have to be all: “Well, how about you don’t let your dumb dog off lead if you can’t control it?” and everybody would feel angry and it would be stupid.


Here is the photo for today anyway. It’s old (2005) so the quality is so small. I had to figure out a way to keep a little bandage over his puncture wound on his shoulder so he ended up getting tape all the way around him so it wouldn’t just fall off. It looked a lot more dramatic than it was. He has white hairs there now where he was bitten!

Agility 008


30 Days of Mallei

Day 18:

I think moving stress is catching up with Mal. Either that or he’s sick. I’m not sure which, actually. For one, he hasn’t been putting on weight despite getting fed a cup and a half of puppy food a day, plus some peanut butter and other things (bones etc), for two, the ‘cough’ that bothers him occasionally at night or just randomly wakes him up, has been particularly loud and troublesome lately – moreso than I’ve seen before. Then today he vomitted up chunks of the bone he ate in bile, and on our walk he was really slow and sad, and when I gave him a kong with frozen meat the other night he didn’t eat it, and I gave him one tonight with peanut butter and he didn’t eat that either. He seems to still be happy to eat his dinner so he still has an appetite… maybe his heart just isn’t in working out how to eat a kong right now. Poor old guy.

Here’s a picture of him looking worried about the thought of tackling his kong. I don’t know whether to take him to the vet. They already think I’m paranoid, I reckon.