Let’s walk the dogs (and go catch some Pokemon)

I know you’re all dying to get out and catch ’em all. And I’m sure Nintendo has received thousands of thank you letters from dogs all over the world. But, what if your dog pulls so hard you drop your phone every time you’re about to throw a pokeball? What if your dog yanks you from corner to corner before the game can stop glitching long enough for you to find the Mewtwo that you swore was only one “step” away just a few seconds ago?

Luckily for you there are a few management harnesses that can help. Why a harness? Walking an untrained dog on a choke chain, prong collar, or even a regular flat collar can damage the neck area. These devices put too much pressure on the bones and muscles in the neck, not to mention on the trachea and thyroid. Damage to the thyroid can cause all sorts of problems for dogs, including aggression, shyness, fearfulness, and even seizures.

These days there are lots of choices when it comes to harnesses. Maybe you’re still using that old flat collar because you’re overwhelmed with options. Hopefully, this will help you and your best friend find the right one.5325947_orig

Regular back clip harness: 
These harnesses are probably the most popular. They’re ideal for small dogs who naturally don’t pull very much. However, they were originally designed for huskies to pull sleds. Therefore they allow big dogs to throw their whole body into dragging you around like a little sled dog.

Front clip harness: 
Clipping the leash to front of the harness completely changes the game. Dogs instinctively pull in the opposite direction they’re being pulled. So, if the pressure is coming from the front of their bodies then they’ll pull backward, and thus slow down. There are lots of differentp53931 designs for a harness like this. Take your dog into your local pet store and ask for help with sizing because you don’t want the harness to rub too much under your dog’s armpits. Also, if your dog tends to bite the leash I’d recommend getting a chain leash since this harness tends to dangle the leash right in front of their face (making the urge to bite the leash too strong to resist). A chain leash doesn’t feel so great on the teeth.

Freedom harness: 

TCAAE.1freedom-harnessThis harness is a combination of the above two. For really strong dogs with a big instinct to pull these harnesses make all the difference. The leash clips to the front AND the back. That way you have full control of your dog’s body and he still feels the pressure coming from his chest. I’ve seen great success with the Freedom Harness.

Head halter: 

banner1If your dog loves to keep his head on the ground sniffing or  if he gets into everything bad along the sidewalk then you may want to consider a head halter so that you have more control over his nose and mouth (aka his senses). However, these take a lot of training prior to use. Your dog must be desensitized to wearing something around his muzzle otherwise you won’t get anywhere without him trying to rip it off. Also, if your dog is at all reactive to other dogs be especially careful as this type of restraint can make them super uncomfortable when greeting another dog. No one likes to know they can’t escape that obnoxious person all up in their face.

I recently saw an advertisement for this but I have yet to use it myself. If anyone tries it out let me know what you think. I’ll update this with a review as soon as I’ve seen it in action.

Lastly, management is not training. If your dog is making it impossible to catch ’em all then try watching some YouTube videos on loose leash walking (or call a trusted local trainer). Happy Pokemon Going! 


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