News Bites: Extreme Reasons To Train Your Dog

  • grenadeA German dog fetched a live WWII grenade last weekend.  Fortunately he was trained and set it down on command.  “Drop It” is an important thing to teach your dog even if they’re much more likely to pick up a dead animal or another dog’s toy than a grenade.

Here’s a really good tutorial on how to teach your dog to “Drop It’ or “Leave It” using non-coercive techniques.

  • Sadly in other news, a dog pulled a California woman in front of a train killing them both.  There’s a pretty small chance your dog will pull you in front of a train, but if your dog pulls on its leash, you could be pulled off your feet or into traffic.  Saffron used to pull steadily on her leash so though I wasn’t likely to be pulled off my feet, I did start having severe wrist and elbow pain.

Check out this really helpful tutorial on training your dog not to pull. We solved the problem using the Easy Walk Harness and here’s a tutortial on using no-pull harnesses.

(Note: I’m not affiliated with PetExpertise. I have ordered a number of things from them and find Jess’ articles well written.)

We Like: The Easy Walk Harness

harness81.jpg Actually, we love the Easy Walk Harness by Premier and I have a lot to say about it! This is a great tool to get your dog to stop pulling on the leash. It’s made by the same people who make the Gentle Leader, and works in a similar way by turning your dog if she pulls on the leash. The D-ring (where the leash hooks) is on the chest, which makes it very different from harnesses where the D-ring is on the back. The D-ring on the Easy Walk Harness works like a steering wheel.

This harness is different from head halters like the Gentle Leader or the Halti. A head halter can work, but you need to be vigilant and never let your dog run or lunge to the end of the leash, which can be hard when there are squirrels or other distractions around. Lunging to the end of the leash in a head halter can really injure the dog’s neck. The Easy Walk Harness is a step above head halters and is by far better than choke, prong, or shock collars.

The Easy Walk Harness is one of the best things you can buy for you & your dog and I don’t say that lightly. Here’s why it rocks:

  • it can’t be mistaken for a muzzle—no matter how many friendly or submissive signals Saffron gave, we still had people ask if the Gentle Leader was a muzzle or if she was a biter
  • no risk of neck injury as there is with head halters
  • dogs can’t back out of the harness as can happen with regular collars
  • no risk of coughing, gagging, or injury to trachea as there is with regular collars
  • there’s no strap on the face or nose—if your dog is sensitive or pulls because she’s anxious, I think the nose strap on a head halter can actually exacerbate her anxiety
  • much easier, faster adjustment period than with head halter
  • doesn’t cause any pain like choke or prong collars

I think there are a few different types of leash pullers and this harness worksharness5-copy.jpg with all of them. There are the dogs who flap & fly around on the end of the leash, the sled dogs pulling you down the sidewalk, the lungers who go after squirrels or other things of interest, and there are the steady pullers who do it out of anxiety. Because this harness is controlling your dog’s chest, and therefore her whole body, your dog gets a clear, gentle signal about what you want from her. It worked the minute I put it on Saffron. It was such a startling change to have the leash slack and to have her relaxed, that at first I thought something was wrong. But, it was actually that something was right for the first time.

The Easy Walk Harness is indispensable for training sessions during walks orharnessdiagram.jpg in places with lots of distractions. Want your dog to learn to sit at the corner before crossing, but you’re having trouble getting through to her because she’s not paying attention to you? This harness can make all the difference. Trying to teach your dog to heel, but she’s just too anxious to focus? Well, first move to a less stressful place like your own backyard, but also try this harness. It really is much better at communicating what you want and that’s so much of what training is all about.

Don’t miss these superb videos on fitting the Easy Walk Harness (bottom of the page) and on the harness in action with a frisky Boxer (second from the bottom).

harness4.jpgTake the time to adjust the Easy Walk Harness for the proper fit. It’s supposed to be quite snug with the chest strap over the breast bone. Remember the D-ring goes on the chest. The harness has 2 buckles—one on the stomach strap and one on the back strap. And it has 4 places to adjust the fit, so you can get it just right. The stomach strap is a different color to make it easy for you to put the harness on correctly. And it comes in lots of sizes and colors.

(Please note: I am in no way affiliated with the Easy Walk Harness or any stores linked to above.)