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Pain in the Neck

August 2, 2011

Harnesses…get one!  It’s so frustrating to see dogs being tugged around by the neck.  Especially for small dogs who have tiny little necks and tracheas that are easily damaged, there’s no reason every one of them should not be walking on a harness.  I always want to take the collar off the dog and put it on the person so they can experience the inhumanity of it all.  When I see the poor little things walking on anything else, I just cringe.  No matter how much someone thinks they do or don’t pull, it’s happening and it’s harmful to the dog. 

I know people generally have a harder time controlling bigger dogs, but now there’s all kinds of options for walking, like a gentle leader or other similar products.  These take a short amount of time for dogs to get used to, and give great control without pain.

I’ve been to lots of classes to learn about dogs, their behavior, and their needs, as well as having been a trainer (of positive methods) myself.  When people use methods other than positive and rewarding, it teaches the animal to respond out of fear…fear of pain and punishment.  They respond to avoid these, and to appease the guardian.  Nothing else.  I think that most people want to establish a trusting relationship with their dog, and want the best for them.  Unfortunately there are a lot of trainers out there using archaic, outdated methods, and people listen to them because they can’t imagine others having anything but the best in mind for their companions.  Think again.

Adverse methods, even those which might seem “mild”, don’t promote a positive relationship with dogs.  It’s like people who punish their kids to get them to do what they want, instead of taking the time to teach and communicate with them.  It may work in the short term, but guess what kind of relationship is being created.  And what always amazes me is that almost no adult would walk up to another adult and hit them, or apply any other physically negative approach, because one wouldn’t cooperate with another.  Because you can’t.  They can fight back.  Dogs can’t.  And they rarely want to, because they want to please this person who they believe is looking out for them.

So let’s be a civilized, compassionate society, and get rid of the choke chains, prong collars, shock collars (interestingly called “training” collars by those who would use them), and the outdated “alpha dog theory”.  People need to put themselves in their dog’s place and imagine how they would want to respond to these “tools” that people and incompetent trainers use.  Just an aside, one of my instructors said there’s only one good use for a “choke chain”, and that’s for hanging plants!  So00 true!

Obviously most people want the absolute best for the dogs they love and care for, and it’s time that they were provided with great information and methods.  Beware of misinformation and lousy trainers…they abound.  If something doesn’t feel right in your gut, don’t do it.  Whether it’s a product that’s recommended or a trainer.  Get rid of both and find the great, compassionate innovators who promote sound methods and positive relationships.

Some places to start are reading some books that have become standards in the world of positive dog training: 

Also, visit these sites and read their behavior handouts and advice:

For magazines/journals, I’d go with:

And on tv/online, check out:

  • Dog Star Daily
  • It’s Me or the Dog with Victoria Stilwell (hands down the best on tv, regardless of other “famous” trainers out there…heh hmmm.  People need to stop watching and supporting the other popular tv dog trainer, you know who I mean.  He’s not what people think, and his methods are unsound.  Trust me.)

All of those listed above are the best in their field, and ensure that there’s still hope out there in the world of dogs.

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