There's a wonderful off-leash ravine hiking trail about a 10 minute drive from my house. The last two times we were there, we spotted Coyotes. The first time I saw one, he was quite a ways in the distance, just milling about minding his own business. The second time, we were nearing the end of our walk and he (or she) was watching myself and Casey quite intently from about 15 feet away up a little side path from the main trail.
Not surprisingly, I was a little freaked out after the last time (I made eye contact with the bloody thing; I was so close I could see him breath in and out!) so we hadn't gone back since then.
But as I mentioned in the opening line, it's a beautiful trail that's very close to my home and it is a nice change of pace from walking on the boring old suburban sidewalk to go to an undeveloped woody area.
So, I set in motion some plans to minimize the danger of my dog getting eaten by a coyote, while still enjoying this beautiful area. I rummaged up an old cross-country ski pole from my garage, which has a sharp metal prong on its end; I purchased some bells from a craft store and made a little bell collar for Casey, and attached several of the bells to my new "walking stick" (AKA - sharp poky ski pole), and I purchased a $30 extendable leash.
While it is an off-leash trail, Casey likes to run through the brush, which is exactly what I want to avoid because that's where hungry and/or bored Coyotes like to hang out. I figured an extendable leash would be a nice compromise, because she would still be leashed, but it would give her some freedom to roam about and sniff as she sees fit (one of the benefits of a nice ravine trail).
Well was I ever wrong. Yesterday, we went back to the ravine since the Coyote spotting(s), and I put the new extendy leash on her for the walk. The thing about those extendy leashes, as oppose to the plain old nylon ones she's always had, is that she has to pull slightly to overcome the tension of the lead and get it to unravel past the 2 feet that always stays out. Except that the second she feels the slightest tension on the lead, she immediately slows down and moves back into a heel position. Every time I tried to get her to pull on the stupid thing, it would give the slightest bit of tension on her collar, and she would go back into a heel. I tried stopping, but then she would walk back and sit next to me. I tried moving backward, but she would notice the tension and start walking backward with me.
I basically spent $30 on a two foot lead.
Now I'm pretty sure with a bit of work I could train her to use the lead, but I don't know if I want to now, because then she might start pulling when we walk with the nylon lead, thinking that that's OK. I'm sort of undecided, but annoyed at myself for not thinking about this and buying the stupid thing with grand thoughts of ravine trail walks in mind instead of practical things like whether it would actually work.