Did you know that harnesses were created for dogs to pull owners into a direction they want to go? For example, sled dogs, police dogs, seeing eye guide dogs, service dogs, protection dogs, attack dogs, and scent dogs.
This is because harnesses are to build a dog’s independence and strength to control a situation.
This photo is something we see all the time with clients as trainers and behavior specialists. A common concern is that dogs choke themselves while on a leash. The owners don’t want their dogs to hurt their throats or choke. The dog is now in harness pulling them with excitement into every direction that looks fun to explore.
The issue is not the collar that’s “choking them”. It is not that a dog is too strong. It is not that a dog won’t listen.
The issue to end pulling is that a dog needs someone to slow down their response and guide them on how to respond to the un natural pressure surrounding its neck.
It is completely natural for a dog to respond by pushing forward in fight, flight, or shutdown when pressure is applied on the neck. After all, in nature those responses are how they survive. Without us to show them how to move out of that instinctual response, they respond in whichever way that give rewards. Getting to smell, getting to a destination they want while pulling makes it rewarding to pull.
Often the solution for many clients is a harness. The dog is no longer choking themselves but now stronger than ever at the end of the leash.
It’s important to remember why we have leash laws in the first place. The relationship with the dog plays a major role In how the dog responds on leash.
However if you want your dog to drive you somewhere faster, put a harness on the dog to help him feel more proud to where he wants to go with a harder time on your end of the leAsh.
An update from a client who recently had their dog do a board and train program. (Backstory at bottom)
It is important for me to express how many people expect their dogs to be “trained” and “perfect” when arriving home from training with me. (This client knew it was a long road ahead and an exception). I make sure that all my clients understand that there is no such thing as an “already trained” dog.
Reshaping a dogs learned responses to life is a process. Just because the dog learns a new way with me doesn’t mean they will not be reminded of what their relationship was like with you when they return to you.
It is your job to sit with me when the dog is ready to go home to find a realistic routine for you to do your homework.
You do not need to spend tons of time daily on homework.
Trust the homework given. Be consistent and persistent while patiently knowing that you will get where you want to be together at your own pace. How much time you choose to spend fixing your own habits with your dogs, is what determines how fast you reach your goals. *********************
Backstory: the dog in the post mentioned had bitten several people. Had attacked a few dogs. Enjoyed too much cat and deer chasing. The topic of euthanasia was in the path for this dog if his behavior wasn’t changed around quickly. ***** #rehabtraining#humboldtdogs#sohumdogtrainer#norcal#humboldt#dogpsychology#dogbehavior#rehabaggression#pawsitivechange#success#happydogs
Many of the dogs who come in to my shop don’t know how to “play” with manners so that everyone is safe.
Gypsy loves to help them understand what energy is too much in a game that could escalate to a fight. If there is no rule enforcer for boundaries on energy, it could lead to a disaster.
Making sure everyone feels protected and receives directions during the fun is a job that Gypsy has enjoyed doing since 2008.
She’s been my number 1 helper that I adopted her from a shelter I was working at in Las Vegas.
She doesn’t have sheep but being my second hand referee when needed gives her a daily purpose.