We have all been to the pet store and seen the abundance of leashes and collars that help us walk our dog. The new trend in the dog world is the harness. There have been many times where I have gone on a walk with my dog and every dog that we came across had a harness on. In the big name pet stores, they now have a whole wall of different kinds of harnesses that are supposed to make walking our dog easier. Well, contrary to popular belief, these harness can not only make walking your dog harder but can actually teach your dog to pull. Think about this:
In Alaska, mushers and their pack of dogs sled across the the Alaskan countryside throughout the year. The dogs that mush as a living are not taught to walk nicely in heel but are taught to pull the sleigh for long periods on time. The question is what kind of collar do they use in order to get these dogs to pull? The answer is a harness! So if you think about it when you put a harness on your dog you are becoming a sleigh. The strongest part of the dog is the chest area therefore when you walk a dog with a harness, you are allowing the dog to use the strongest part of them to control the walk...and you. Harnesses are made to develop a pulling response from the dog and they basically set your dog up to learn how to pull when on leash.
Now that we have told you the explanation on why we do not recommend harnesses, it is a good transition to talk to about the collars that we do recommend. Here at Calm K9 Training, our go-to collar is called a prong collar. More specifically, the Herm Sprenger prong collar. Why? Unlike many other manufacturers, Herm Sprenger collars are beveled. They round each and every prong to prevent discomfort for the dog. Many people look at these collars and think they are barbaric but in reality, these collars do no harm to a dog if used correctly. The most important part of that last sentence is if used correctly. Why do we use these type of collars you may ask? Prong collars are a tool for owners to communicate to their dogs when they are doing something wrong AND when they are doing something right. It empowers the owner and gives them the control that is needed when walking a dog that is a puller or is reactive on-leash. However, we do not recommend going out to buy a prong collar and immediately use it on your dog without any guidance. It is important to learn about these collars and how to use them before you use them on your dog. We all want our dogs to learn but as dog owners, we must be learning as well. Remember, it is a learning process for all of us not just our dogs.