Posted by: pharaohhoundflash | September 6, 2010

Cats, strong prey drive and their consequences: the halti, a trainer and other ugly rules


So I’ve been diagnosed with SPD: strong prey drive. Apparently, to humans, this is a bad thing, considering I’m a suburban dweller (and a condo one at that). If I could only land a hunting gig, then my SPD would be an asset. However, Lauressa appears to be quite upset by my cat-chasing antics. You see, because by law, sometimes, and condo rules, the rest of the time,  I’m on a leash almost all the time, which means that when I want to prowl and then POUNCE, Lauressa gets literally jerked around. I don’t mean to hurt her; I just can’t control my natural urges. (Lauressa says she’s heard that one before). From what I understand, this sounds somewhat like addiction. I looked into joining a Cat Chasers Anonymous group but did not find one. Apparently dogs cannot do 12-step programs because of that part about writing a fourth step; kind of hard to write with paws. Anyhow, all that group “sharing” is not really, you know, doggie style. Instead, we’re more about just kind of moving on without a whole bunch of discussion. People should take note. 

Strong prey drive in action

Pouncing upon, shaking and tearing apart stuffed animals are signs of strong prey drive

Anyway, the biggest problem for me is that I’m not sure I want to give the stuff up, ya know? I mean, cats. . . they just contain an entire world of forbidden excitement. First of all, they get away with all kinds of stuff that dogs cannot: they aren’t required to wear leashes, they can poop wherever they want (and let me assure you: they don’t all bury it), they are allowed to kill stuff and eat it if they want (except for those poor sobs who’re stuck inside 100% of the time, but that’s another blog entry). And to top it all off their food and their poop are like delicacies to me and so it stands to reason that they’d taste pretty damn good themselves, which is why, of course, I lick my lips every time I smell a cat.   

One of the sources of cat evil in my Life

The cat named "Tiger": One of the sources of cat evil in my Life

Anyhow, things are getting serious. Gone are the days of my sweet, velvet-lined, designed-especially-for-sighthounds, Martingale collar. Lauressa says the little tug of tightness used to work as a “correction” for me, but recently, I just manage to ignore those tugs when I see a cat in the bushes before Lauressa does. She’s already got the leash tied around her waist like a running belt, but when she has the leash in hand for even a few seconds, craziness often ensues.   


Today I met  the Top Paw Control Ease Head Collar, a version of “THE HALTI”—treacherous thing. When I was first adopted, Lauressa briefly introduced me to “Easy-Walk” harness, which I managed to convince her was no good (because we run —> chaffing under the front legs, ouch!). Then there was the Yuppie Puppy non-pull mesh harness (there’s also another called Yuppy Puppy; different spelling; go figure), which was okay for me; however Lauressa found that she couldn’t use it to control me very well. And we also tried the “Gentle Leader” today. Of course, I’m not fond of either of them. However, the  Top Paw Control Ease Head Collar (Petsmart’s brand; apparently there are a few brands of these as well!) offered a little soft lining on the bridge of the nose, had a clip to hold the extra length of the strap, and was easier to get on and off. I got a bunch of treats just for trying them on, but believe me, after about 60 seconds, I was trying to pry that thing off with my paws. Lauressa says I’ll get used to it a little at a time. But I plan to put up a fight.   

Yeah, this is the package because I won't be seen in this thing.


The last bit of news on all this, which I overheard, is that Lauressa’s looking for an animal behaviorist. She’s was checking the Association of Pet Dog Trainers website and making calls to people. They spoke about the latest in humans trying to figure us out. It seems there’s quite a rift between current animal behavior training and theory and the methods of Cesar Millan, the self-called “Dog Whisperer” on National Geographic channel, who they consider “old school,” coercive and negative. They swear that their positive reinforcement only methods are the new school. Apparently, this Cesar guy is quite controversial despite the devotedness of his television audience and his widespread pop culture icon status.  Did Cesar get his “way” because he’s so hunky (according to wikipeida, Jada Pinkett Smith, before she was Mrs. (Will) Smith, gave him a big boost.)? What did he give her?   

Leader of the Pack

Pack leader or just another pretty face?

Coming soon, an update on the trainers we’ll be trying out: Lauressa will be interviewing, and I’ll be testing.



  1. Right after we hung up I had an idea about the cat problem. Lets talk about another technique that will leave the “tool” out of the equation. Flash will like that idea, and you may get results.

    On the flip side, I’ll be curious to see how Flash adapts to the Halti. Good luck!

  2. […] head harness is totally cramping my style–in so many ways. What do I look like, a horse? You wouldn't […]

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