Does your dog pull on lead? Has someone said your dog is dominant? Here’s some helpful training tools and advice.

Posed Foggy Comfort Trainer, Freedom Harness, Martingale Collar, Island Top Tags Feb 2020

March 3, 2020

Joyce Kesling, CDBC

Are you struggling with an Out of Control Dog (OCD)? Has your dog been labeled “reactive” or “aggressive” on lead. Has someone told you your dog was “dominant” and all you need to do was show them who’s boss? In other words, manhandle them. Have you been pulled down by your unruly dog or were you lucky?! Have you given up? Have you stopped taking your reactive rover on walks or changed your schedule so you avoid their triggers?!

Life with your dog doesn’t have to be this way. You and your dog deserve better. You have the potential to teach your dog how to walk and behave nicely on lead and improve your relationship. What could be better than this?! The only downside means giving up any bad advice you’ve been given and stop using harmful tools and punishment that doesn’t address the problem and cause more harm.

That’s #BettyB in the picture above. She’s one good looking bitch, isn’t she! She’s 20 months old this month. She’s been mine for one year. My recommended training tools have been the following:

  1. Comfort Trainer (head collar) Lots of available styles/brands that fit all dogs
  2. 2 Hounds Design Freedom Harness
  3. 2 Hounds Design Martingale Collar
  4. Bold Lead Designs Biothane Long Line 15′ (training lead)
  5. Lots of work, using my brain not brawn. It’s worth it My dogs and clients dogs are proof we don’t need to use force and hurtful training devices.

Notice, No #Shock, No #Prong, No #Choke collars were used. I’ve never needed to use old school dog training tools and remotes to teach dogs behaviors. Why? Because my dogs and hopefully yours are treated like “family members”. We shouldn’t want to hurt beloved family members when we intend on teaching them. Why also? Because I know better. This is a very important point. When one knows better, they should do better. Knowing is combination of knowledge gained through schooling, including higher education and applying this knowledge in ones professional life.

What training tools—in addition to their brains—do dog trainers use?

1. Good tools promote calm and relaxed behavior, and efficient learning that is in the best interests of the dog and the dog-human team. Good tools include:
a) small, bite-sized treats (check for food allergies first!!!)
b) leashes
c) head collars
d) flat collars
e) harnesses
f) praise
g) toys
2. Tools that should be avoided because they increase fear and anxiety:
a) shock collars / electric collars / e-collars / static collars
b) prong collars
c) “correction” collars
d) choke collars, choke chains (sometimes euphemistically referred as training collars)
3. Some tools can be problematic or become problematic when used incorrectly, but you might not think so at the outset.

Journal of Veterinary Behavior (2006) 1, 47-52

If you’re struggling with your dogs behavior during walks, at home and public, don’t let unscrupulous dog trainers tell you that your dog needs to be punished to learn. The following membership organizations have trained people who can help.

What Organizations help guide my view and positions?

American Animal Hospital Associations Canine and Feline Behavior Management Guidelines

The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior

American College of Veterinary Behaviorists

Memberships and Supported Organizations

International Association Animal Behavior Consultants

Pet Professional Guild

Shock Free Coalition

The Florida Shock Free Coalition

Other Helpful Information

How to Select a Dog Trainer – A Guide for Veterinarians

Find your clients a dog trainer in 4 easy steps!

How to Choose a Trainer

How to Hire a Dog Trainer

AN OPEN LETTER TO VETERINARIANS ON REFERRALS TO TRAINING AND BEHAVIOR PROFESSIONALS