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?!

Has someone told you #shock, #prong or #choke collars will “fix” this problem?

Life with your dog doesn’t have to be this way. You don’t need to use those punitive training tools and their methods to help. Look closely at the dogs in these photos wearing shock and prong collars. Notice their hunched body posture, ear set, lip lick, paw lift, tails tucked… These are all signals of stress and anxiety. The tools being used and the people handling the dogs are causing these undesirable emotionally expressed behaviors.

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.

Here’s photos of my dogs. Note their confidence during training sessions and play:

That’s #BettyB in the picture at the top. She modeling the following training tools recommended in the insert below, published in Journal Veterinary Behavior (2006). She’s one good looking bitch, isn’t she!  My recommended training tools are 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. There is no place for these dog training tools and remotes for teaching how to behave.

Why I choose these tools? Because my dogs are treated like “family members”. We shouldn’t want to purposely hurt family members when the right professional help is available.

Why also? Because I know better. This is 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, out in public, don’t let unscrupulous dog trainers tell you your dog needs to be “dominated” 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