A letter to dog owners

Dear Dog Owners,

Please be careful about the advice you receive and take, just because you see something on tv or in the newspaper does not make it true! Question EVERYTHING! Do some research! Even on the things I post here! Have an opinion and dont agree with what I posted? Awesome! Please write me a message and let me know! Because I LOVE to learn, even if I wont use the technique myself I still want to learn! There is more than one way to fish! (Sorry I couldn’t use the cat saying) Just because my way is different than your way doesn’t make either way bad! Ive learned this over the past year, and just because 1 thing works for 1 dog doesn’t mean it works for all dogs!

Take Daine and Teddy for example: Daine is a hardcore, no holds bared, husky strength puller! Teddy is an occasional puller who has a harder time focusing on walks. With Daine the only thing that has helped her not pull so hard she literally chokes herself is the prong collar which you can read about here. Whenever she sees her prong collar she gets excited and dances around. And then you have Teddy who is an occasional puller, at first I walked him on a prong collar but I quickly realized it wasn’t good for his personality type, you see Teddy is too shy, he’s already skittish with just his normal collar and he has a tendency to belly up whenever he thinks I’m upset, so the prong collar wasn’t a good fit for him. Instead he wears a martingale thats two inches wide and that seems to have helped with his pulling, all I have to do is give the leash a tiny tug and tell him to stop pulling.

Why am I writing this? Because today as I saw someone give some pretty bad training advice, but because this person writes for a ‘public’ media he will no doubt be taken for granted that he is correct. And it got me thinking about how many people in the ‘public’ eye have their word taken as 100% truth with no questions asked just because they said it? I dont ever want to be one of those people, I dont ever want to be someone who thinks everyone should believe everything they say, or that wont let themselves be questioned without freaking out. So please feel free to question, to open a dialogue!

This brings me to what the bad advice was, the person in question wrote that harnesses are good for dogs that pull and let me tell you that is wrong, do you know why sled dogs wear harnesses? Because it makes them PULL HARDER! I’m talking about a straight up back clipping harness, they really aren’t good for pullers.

Now a front harness or a double clipping harness can be helpful in teaching your dog not to pull, but you still have to be careful with those because they can be fitted poorly and cause injury to your dog. I’m personally not a fan of head halters at all because they can fail so easily, but they are also pretty good at teaching a dog not to pull.A dog that pulls should never wear a chain collar or a collar with a plastic buckle, and you should try using a wider collar on your dog, it displaces the pull weight more evenly across the neck to prevent choking.

Do your research, Read some blogs, Read some articles, Test out some of the tools of the trade Because harnesses, prong collars, haltis, all of those things are just TOOLS, its up to you to train the dog, and they can either be used for good to make the dog better, or they can make things worse, its all in how you use them….



Categories: Mommah's Musings, Training | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “A letter to dog owners

  1. tara

    You’re 100% correct: All dogs ARE different and ANY tool used improperly can be detrimental. My staffordshire bull terrier mix used to pull on just a martingale collar (we use a flat martingale because her head is the same width as her neck, the martingale prevents her from being able to back out of it). Because she has such a low center of gravity, she is VERY strong and can really pull. And, while treat training works in the house for basic obedience, she is disinterested in food during walks. I also have to walk her while pushing a stroller (usually a double, which with the kids in it weighs about 85lbs), so I had to teach her NOT to pull. It also means my hands are on the stroller pushing, her leash is hooked on my wrists (we have the 6ft lead with the second loop at like 2 ft) so I really can’t have her pulling forwards and to each side constantly. Drifting can also be a danger to her, since she could get hurt if the stroller runs over her paw or hits her. We learned how to use the prong, and she caught on very quickly. This dog who was once ALL OVER THE PLACE will now walk next to a double stroller with zero pulling or even drifting. She behaves perfectly with it. She will ONLY do this if the prong collar is on her. I use a back attach harness for her as well (because with her short, stumpy legs, the prong/martingale kept turning and the leash would end up wrapped all around her legs) and hook the leash to the harness. I attach the prong to the harness with a carabiner in case I need it, but I haven’t had to hook the prong collar to the leash for a regular walk for quite a while now (although I have used it in the vet’s office or where there have been a lot of dogs around since we are working on leash reactivity issues). Like Daine, she gets all excited when she sees the prong collar come out and it was what worked for us in our situation.

  2. Run A Muck Ranch

    I cringe, as a landscaper, when media have a ‘horticulturalist’ on to give advice. Those who can do, those who don’t want to give interviews – especially here on the desert. As far as the dogs, same thing. I wish people would use common sense rather than look for someone else to give them the answer. Common sense really does work!

    • Sadly I find the world is truly lacking in common sense at all these days….. Thanks for the read and comment!

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