Tools of the Trade
This month we want to compare some of the tools that people use to walk their dogs.
The most common is a Flat buckle collar (or martingale collar). These do not help with leash walking as the dog still has the ability to pull and lunge which puts a lot of pressure on the neck. Owners will pull or pop the collar creating a negative association with other dogs and people.
Prong collars/choke collars- unfortunately these are very popular as owners are not aware of the potential risks when they use them. These collars provide a punishment element when the dog pulls, the collar tightens causing pain or discomfort. The dog can associate this pain with other dogs or people who are present. These collars can cause leash aggression and are not recommended.
Front attach harness- hooks up at the front taking away the ability to pull forward with chest and neck. Instead they are turned around and put off balance. The dogs get used to wearing a harness quite easily and it takes the pressure off of their delicate neck area. There are many different styles and some work better than others; it is also important that the harness fits properly. Please get in touch with us to help you find the right harness for your dog.
Gentle leaders - for ultimate control; especially for pulling, jumping or lunging. Fits and guides the dogs with the same purpose as used for horses. Also has a calming effect by applying pressure to acupressure points. Gentle leaders do take longer for the dogs to get used to than the other tools, some training is involved before using them. Please contact us if you need help introducing the gentle leader.
With any of these tools anti-pull and loose leash walking exercises still need to be practiced and taught to your dog.
If you have been to The Dog Classroom, you know that we practice positive reinforcement training techniques. Dogs naturally walk much faster than we do which leads to them pulling us to where they want to go and therefore self-rewarding. If we want them to walk beside us, we need to reward them in that position. Using positive reinforcement takes the dog’s emotions into consideration as well. It helps the dog to gain confidence as they are not afraid of being punished for making a mistake, so they are happier and more comfortable. Positive training methods also build a bond between you and your dog as they learn they can trust you to guide them with minimal stress.