Monday, January 24, 2011

To Harness or to Collar?

          As I was out and about yesterday, driving around doing errands, I saw a lot of people walking their dogs. The last time I saw this it inspired me to do an article on how to properly walk your dog. This was no different. I saw four or five people being walked by their dogs, this annoys me as it always does, but this time I took note of what the dogs had on. One had on a choker collar, it was a black lab, and this lab was pulling his owner down the road with all his might, gagging and hacking the entire way. I saw a yellow lab being walked with an interesting collar, it was a training collar. It looked like a standard collar except there was extension that lead toward the nose with a loop that went around the dogs nose.  Every time the dog tried to pull, the loop around the dogs nose would lead the dog to the left or the right, thus making the dog turn instead of pulling.  The dog would stop and try to correct its course, this seemed a very effective way to stop a dog from pulling. I am considering doing a review on this kind of collar. I also saw a boxer in a harness. This dog was trying to pull but was not having much luck. I guess that is better than dragging its owner down the street, but it was still pulling. Lastly I saw a couple of people using standard collars and they were being pulled around the walk way. Only one dog, a black lab mix was trained to walk properly. I was very glad to see this.
          I guess the big question would be... which is better, collar or harness? That answer is not as straight forward as you might think. If you have a well trained dog, that stays at your side when you walk, you can really use anything, a collar would be the most convenient for this type of dog. However if you have a dog that is a puller, like a husky, they can be tough to train. Not impossible just tough. A husky sees something sparkly and they are off to chase down their latest adventure. For this kind of dog a harness might be better. Even if this type of dog is well trained it may still try to dash off and pull you along. Pulling is in their blood, and because of this a harness will help you gain better control over a dog like this quickly. It will also prevent any throat injury that so often happens when a dog pulls while wearing a collar. If you are training your dog still, a training collar may be good, though I hesitate to recommend it because I have never used one.
          Both the standard collar and the harness have their pros and cons. The collar is simple, every dog should have a collar in order to display their licences, tags, and vaccination tags. You don't have to remove the collar very often. It is good with any dog that has been trained to walk with its owner properly. The down side of collars are few, but those few are big. For instance, if your dog pulls, all kinds of injuries to the dogs throat, neck and back can occur. If the dog is off leash, the collar can get caught on all manner of things from tree branches, bushes, and it can even get stuck in the cracks of deck planks. If you are going to use the collar to walk your dog, for your dogs sake, make sure they are trained to walk properly.
          The harness is a great tool, it gives you better control over your dog if it tries to pull away, limits the chance of injury to the throat neck and back of your dog. On the down side, it must be put on your dog before every walk and it can be complicated, depending on the harness you have. The harness must be removed after every walk, and the harness should be adjusted to fit your dog properly. If the harness is to tight it will be very uncomfortable for your dog, it may even be painful if it is adjusted to small for your dogs frame. The harness definitely has its place, and as I said it is a great tool to help you keep control of a dog that pulls. I still think the best way to keep control of your dog is to train it properly.
          As for all the other types of collars out there that I think I need to talk about. Choke collars, pincher collars, shock collars, and any other collar or device that causes discomfort or pain for your dog should not be purchased. There is no need for things like this. With a little research you can learn how to train your dog to do just about anything. There is no need to hurt your dog. Choke collars are the only exception to this, but they must be used properly. If you don't know what a choke collar is used for, or you don't know how to use one, don't. We are trying to avoid causing any harm or discomfort to our furry family members, and by not using devises that will make them uncomfortable or harm them, no matter how slightly, it will go a long way to keeping your furry family members healthy and happy.
Nick C

1 comment:

Cora said...

i live in the country on 10 acres, and have a fenced in area for my dogs, therefore they are not 'walked'. But when I lived at my other house, still in the country, but no fenced in yard, my little Bugger was ...hitched, cuz he would not stay to home. He had a harness because he was and is a retard...he would jump off the deck and hang himself with a collar - with the harness it supported his weight and he didn't hang himself. Thankfully he only did this 2 times (once with the collar and once with the harness)See More