Lazy owners, lazier trainers, dogs without a chance

I see a lot of dogs. On any given day, I can deal with as many as one-hundred. Every dog that comes to me is on a leash. But what that leash connects to gives me pause.

A local trainer works with several of the dogs. I can always tell when she is the one working with a dog because no matter what its issue, it will begin coming in with a prong collar.

 Another trainer I know never uses prong(also known as a pinch) collar or chokers(which I think should be banned). She is big on harnesses. Especially the Easy Walk harness. I like those as well.

So what’s the problem?

No matter what your thoughts on training collars, harnesses, or haltis, you should understand that they are tools to help train your dog to walk with you. If your dog isn’t walking with you, then no matter what you use it is still going to pull. Owners must change the behavior and work with the dog. Where we run into problems is when a dog is pulling and someone asks for help. A trainer gives them a few ideas about how to fix the problem. The owner does not follow through on the steps to fix the problem so the trainer- or trainer two since the first one failed in the owner’s eyes- hands them a prong or harness and it works. Sort of.

A dog will generally stop pulling when a prong collar or choker becomes enough of a nuisance or painful enough. But the dog isn’t learning not to pull. It is learning to pull until it hurts, stop, pull until it hurts, stop, pull until it hurts stop.

With the harness- provided it is one designed to help eliminate pulling- might also reduce pulling- but unless the owner takes steps to actually change the behavior of the dog, he will resume pulling in no time.

In both these cases, it is not training, but management.

As with anything else, it is vital for the owner to change the dog’s behavior and be consistent in training to get a dog that will walk nicely. You have to give the dog reasons to walk and not pull. You have to teach the dog to walk with you. If not, you have a lifetime of lunging and pulling and choking your dog to look forward to.

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