Baby Thor

Baby Thor

Training Thor

In January 2010, Thor, a 5-month-old weimaraner, came crashing into my life.

Here, I will outline the steps taken to train him to be a well-mannered dog,

to do agility, and to perform some service dog tasks.

At five months, he is pretty wild.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Chip on His Shoulder

Thor now has a microchip ID implanted between his shoulder blades.

After our last vet visit, I had called and told them that I would not be doing another distemper/parvo vaccine but that I would keep the appointment in order to have Thor microchipped.  He is the fifth dog that I have had chipped, and I am a firm believer. 

Having not yet obtained a front-clip harness (yeah, I know, I'm a procrastinator), I used a make-shift method of attaching the leash that I had learned some years ago from trainer Leah Foran.  Leah currently teaches classes at my vet's office.  She also does private in-home training and is certified by the Association of Pet Dog Trainers.  So, with Thor attached per Leah's instructions, we made our way successfully inside.  When The vet tech appeared to call us into the exam room, she commented that the leash was tangled around him. I explained what I had done to which she replied, "That's dangerous."  I told her that it would be even more dangerous if I couldn't control him and got pulled down. 

Once in the room, I undid the leash and took hold of Thor's collar.  He immediately twisted around, the collar tightening on my finger.  I cried out, the vet helped untangle me and got me a bandaid.  (One finger was bleeding, another alarmingly indented.  And all because I was intimidated by the vet tech into undoing the leash.) 

The vet then told me that without a fourth distemper/parvo shot, Thor was unprotected against disease.  I reminded her that he had had three.  She replied that the last two had not been close enough together (even though what he had had fit Dr. Dodd's protocol).  Finally, she let it go when I said I was willing to titer him.  Titers measure the level of antibodies to specific diseases and thus measure a dog's level of protection.   Results will be back in a week.

The vet also told me that Thor needed a Gentle Leader head halter to control him.  I said that I intended to purchase a front-clip harness.  She responded that they had wrapped the leash around his nose while he was out back and that it had calmed him down.  A gentle leader, she said, would do the same.  Well, the leash was still around his nose when Thor was brought back to me, and he has doing his best to remove it.  Calmer? Maybe, but mostly just focused on a task. 

After putting Thor in his crate in the car, I went into their store to look for a front-clip harness.  They had them but not in the right size.  I purchased prescription food for Vada which a receptionist carried out for me.  I asked her about the harnesses, whether or not they'd be getting more in.  She told me that she had used a prong collar successfully on her dog.  Sorry.  I'm not going that route.  Told her I'd known them to cause puncture wounds.  She replied, "Oh, I know, but it worked with my dog."

I won't use any product that has the potential to hurt my dog.  I also won't use a product that has the potential to have a negative impact on my relationship with my dog.  Once home again, I went online and ordered a front-clip harness from "Walk Your Dog With Love."  Later, I put a leash on Thor, and we practiced heeling in a small square on the back deck.  All's well.


  1. Geez Melinda, I really dislike your vets office!! I dont think I could keep going there after the experiences you have had, were it me. Argh! You know, there are agility run-thrus at Sugarbush this weekend. Email Kathy and see if we have an Easy Walk you can try! Or Barb, she is probably going and she is in charge of the NEBCR store. Really! ;~)

  2. Hi Melinda, It sure can be "one step forward two steps back..." but your perseverence is commendable. Glad to hear you stick to your beliefs in the best interest of your dog/dogs and I'm impressed that you did the micro-chipping as a precaution, even though he's never out of your sight.

    Also, it's terrific to see photos of the other dogs, especially the action shot of Peabes in his heyday. Imagine Thor in that kind of activity! Pam

  3. Thanks for you ongoing support, Amy! I have the SBF run-thrus on my calendar and expect to be there. Don't know that I'll bring Thor; it's nice for Glitter to have a day out with just me.

    I have definitely had thoughts of changing vets. The one I'd like to go to is 45 miles from me but I'll probably bite the bullet. I'm thinking, too, that I'll write a letter to the owner of my current vet practice to let him know what I've been through.

  4. Hey Melinda, you might want to bring Thor because I think there are going to be a number of NEBCR foster dogs there - a bunch of youngsters he could maybe play with . . . juts a thought! Wish I could go, way too much homework!