Here are some trade secrets to getting your control harness to work better for you and your dog. With several of the simpler styles (SENSE-ation, SENSE-ible, Easy Walk) if you can’t get the harness to fit quite right, try putting it on upside down. (Doesn’t work with any of the “two-points-of-contact” harnesses.) If the front strap still slips down, clip your leash to the front-clip ring and the collar ring. This may diminish the effectiveness of the harness a little, but it will keep the front strap up and in place.
Naturally, we regard shock collars as absolutely unnecessary and inappropriate in any training program, but particularly so in training puppies and young dogs. Given the potential for an exceptionally strong fear response during the early fear period – as well as during the secondary fear period – it pains us greatly to see trainers who market their shock collar training even for very young puppies. Of course they mask the aversive nature of shock collars by calling them “electronic” or “e” collars and “electronic fences.”
Those of us who are a bit older remember when seat belts, air bags, and infant car seats did not exist. Today, these safety devices are mandated by laws and most of us would not consider putting ourselves or our children at risk by not using them in our vehicles. So why do many people still risk the lives of another beloved family member - their dog - by allowing their pet to ride unrestrained in their car or truck? A Lab riding shotgun or loose in the bed of a truck, a Shih Tzu on the driver's lap, a German Shepherd hanging his head out of the window, a Pomeranian lying up by the back windshield, a Heinz 57-mix pacing on the back seat we've all seen, or even been guilty of, dangerous animal transport practices.
Long thought to be a sign of a bad dog
One bright spring Sunday, my husband and I took a motorcycle trip through Virginia, stopping in the dog-friendly town of Leesburg for lunch. As we ate I watched a steady stream of leashed dogs walk by our restaurant window. Before long I noticed a strange consistency: every single dog was wearing a prong collar. The sun dimmed a little for me, because I cannot imagine a training situation for which I would be willing to use a prong collar - and I certainly wouldn't use one as an everyday dog-walking tool. But the collars appeared to be commonly accepted and used in that community. A roomful of dog trainers will never agree on the best equipment for walking, training, or exercising a dog. If you restrict membership in the room to positive" trainers you'll find more agreement
The chasm between those who abhor the electronic/shock collars as an abusive dog training tool and those who support and promote it as an exceptionally effective and humane training tool is so huge it will probably never be bridged. In more moderate positions in the middle of that chasm are those who believe that the collar can be an effective training tool for very limited circumstances in the hands of skilled professionals, and those who prefer not to use them but feel compelled to educate clients who insist on using them on how to use them properly.
What, exactly, do we like in a collar? To start, we look for top-quality materials – leather that is soft and supple, evenly dyed, neither greasy nor dry; nylon that feels smooth and pliable; and buckles and snaps that open and close easily and securely. Next, we examine the quality of the workmanship. We want to see tight, even stitching, and nylon ends that are smoothly heat-sealed to prevent fraying.
Every day, people load their dogs into cars for trips to the vet or dog park, to run errands, visit friends, or to take day trips. We advocate keeping your dog restrained at all times when he’s traveling with you. The best form of protection is a crate, securely strapped or, better yet, bolted down to keep it from shifting. If your dog’s crate is too big for your car, a doggie seat belt is our recommended alternative.
The harness is routinely used for certain canine activities such as carting, mushing, tracking, and guiding the disabled. It is also an important accessory for the canine seat belt, since it’s not safe to restrain your dog by his collar in a moving vehicle. Oddly, there isn’t much talk about the value of the harness as a basic positive training tool. With all the justifiable concern about the risk to a dog’s throat from pressure, or worse, jerks on a collar, it would seem that harnesses might find greater favor with positive trainers.
We can never say it often enough or loudly enough – proper identification can save your dog’s life. A dog license is required by law to be worn on your dog’s collar in most places in this country. Owner information from a license can usually be tracked through the local Animal Services agency or Health Department so the lost dog can be returned to his owner if he is picked up by an Animal Services Officer or turned over to an animal shelter by a helpful humanitarian. Obtaining your license in a timely manner can also save you money, since failure to do so can result in citations and fines.
With more than 25 years of working with animals professionally under my belt, I don’t find many new product concepts that come as a total and pleasant surprise to me. What a delight, then, to test hands-free leashes for Whole Dog Journal and discover that the best of these products, which started making their appearance in the pet supply retail market in recent years, offer far more than just a convenient way to free up your hands while walking your dog on leash. Few things irritate me more than having a dog constantly tugging on the leash. Thanks to my new doggie daycare center, I now find myself in the position of walking untrained dogs far more frequently than before.
There are seat belt laws in most states now, and young children are legally required to be restrained in safety seats in cars in all states. But nowhere is there a law requiring dogs to be safely contained in vehicles. Those that do only address restraint for dogs in the back of open pick-up trucks. (And even when dogs are safely restrained in the back of a truck, the potential for the dog to be severely injured in an accident is great.