If you’re determined to piss Uncle Joel off…

…Talk to Tobie. He knows just which button to push.

And he pushes it with apparent glee. From time to time.

Having confirmed the meeting time for the Monday morning water run, which is variable lately, I discovered that I had an hour and a half on my hands. Decided to spend part of it on clearing up several minor somethings that have been bugging me lately…


Sometimes I have to march around the property with a wrench, tightening various loose bolts. Which strikes me as kind of a steampunk thing to do, but you know. DIY infrastructure always ends up having steampunky elements.

First both clothesline crosstrees, of course, they’re new and have to settle in. The regulator bracket on Ian’s propane station for some reason: One morning it’s fine and the next the top of the regulator points at ten o’clock. Doesn’t really matter, but it’s annoying. Then up the driveway where both signs are loose again.

Some of this involves a certain amount of cross-country on rough ground and the use of both hands. And if Tobie’s going to come along, he’s going to be tethered to my waist. Which normally goes fine, but…


…this is Tobie’s second morning walkie, which is unusual, and unusual is fun. And fun means play, and play means the zoomies. Which in his case means running back and forth like a maniac to the full extent allowed by the leash and as much beyond that as can be managed. As fast and frantically as possible.

Which, when Uncle Joel is trying to get a wrench on a nut while crouched inside a tiny propane booth precariously perched on a rather steep and very rocky slope, and the aforementioned leash is attached to Uncle Joel, well…It’s not helpful. Not even a little bit helpful.

Tobie, I’m quite convinced, is perfectly aware of that. Yeah, I could have left him home but I’m already going to do that later in the morning and there’s no point unnecessarily making him sad.

On the subject of attaching a large strong young and therefore unpredictable dog to your waist in a world full of rabbits and lots of other fun things just out of reach, Tobie taught me early and – since Uncle Joel seems to be growing a bit thick-headed – repeatedly that clipping the leash to a belt loop is as pointless as building a chicken coop on a termite mound. I got tired of chasing dogs and repairing trousers.

So I made three adjustments to my dog-walking gear. I spent fairly serious money on a real ‘you can’t break this’ belt. I replaced the cheap snap link on the loop of his leash with a real carabiner. And I made a loop of 550 cord…


…which goes around the belt between the holster and the front-most belt loop. And so far he hasn’t been able to defeat that, no matter how successfully he catches me by surprise. And he sure put it to the test this morning.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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6 Responses to If you’re determined to piss Uncle Joel off…

  1. jrg says:

    You have my sympathy. I too have a young 2 year old 75 pound dog which when confronted by squirrels, will do his best to pull my arm out of its socket to get the wretched creature. So I have to be on constant guard, living near a university which is squirrel heaven – everybody feeds the cute lil squirrels. When I am stopped, I step on the leash. Dog gets annoyed when I do that.

  2. I’ve seen what I’d characterise as abuse in regards to choke chains – so I generally wouldn’t recommend them. You seem like a fairly level guy so I don’t have the impression you’d use a choke chain against a dog. But – if a dog uses a choke chain against himself…

    All I’d recommend is that don’t you be the one to yank on it. It’d probably be better to only use it during walks and public stuff – you don’t want him getting hung-up on it unattended. I’m not recommending the spiked type of choke chain – just the slip-link type. It’s just a training aid and if you use it selectively he’ll figure it out.

  3. Just to add…

    ‘jrg’ – I was only commenting to Joel above. But it does sound like you’ve developed a training technique too!

  4. plblark says:

    On Carabiners .. You might consider a climbing rated carabiner for this application and not just a random one hanging around the house. A locking version if you’re ever going to use it for tethering him unattended.

    I say that because we had to repair a 4″gash on our doggo once. I had the bright idea to take generic giveaway carabiner and use it for attaching a piece pf webbing into a harness and attach to a leash. Sort of like a squeeze line in a harness to apply gentle pressure across his chest when he pulled. Worked FINE for that purpose because most pulling was temporary and there was a Human at the other end to correct it. But my bride once used that same carabiner on a stationary cable lead where said Doggo could see Horses and he REALLY wanted to go investigate them. so he set to PULLING consistently until POP and then there was a tensioned hook on the end of the cable that gashed his chest.

  5. Joel says:

    You might consider a climbing rated carabiner for this application and not just a random one hanging around the house. A locking version if you’re ever going to use it for tethering him unattended.

    Which is precisely why I said,

    I replaced the cheap snap link on the loop of his leash with a real carabiner.

  6. plblark says:

    Sorry to pour sand in your undies, I figured you knew but just in case, I was trying to be helpful and save someone from my idiocy 😉 The locking style prevents a gate failure but my error was in using a Cheapo Carabiner. Fortunately, doggo was ok with debriding and bandaging but we were pretty concerned for awhile.

To the stake with the heretic!