Links and articles
Other Film clips
- Muzzle training. Dogs will not view a muzzle as a 'bad thing' if it is introduced in a positive, fun way. This film clip shows how to do it. You could use this way to teach your dog to accept a headcollar too.
- Teaching 'drop'. A helpful alternative to teaching a dog to 'give'
Articles by Paddy Driscoll
- Why say no to check chains? (2008 rev 2009) Regrettably it still needs to be explained. I look forward to the day this article becomes redundant.
- The Dominance Debate (2008) A longer, fuller version of an article that was originally published in the James Wellbeloved Magazine (and much criticised for its challenges to the prevailing view of 'dominance' in some quarters) a few years before.
Helpful online articles by other people
- He just wants to say 'hi!' by Suzanne Clothier examines one of the big problems owners of friendly dogs don't realise is a BIG problem for other dogs..their friendly dog!
- Crate training Crates can be a very helpful and positive aid to managing your dog and for some dogs they can become an important 'safe haven'. But the dog needs to be introduced to it a careful, structured way in the way this article and film clip describes.
Food dispensing toys
Food dispensing toys are great to keep a housebound dog occupied, or to offer stimulation to the dog which can't have a lot of exercise for any reason. The more time a dog spends extracting food, the less time he has for getting up to mischief and they are believed to help a dog handle frustration more effectively. They also allow a dog to carry out natural doggy behaviour...scavenging for, and extracting, food from their environment. Ticks a lot of good doggy welfare and behaviour boxes!
- Busy Buddy a range of sturdy food dispensing toys which stand up to the toughest conditions and keep a dog occupied for longer than most other brands.
- The Kong Wobbler is another option
There are pros and cons to harnesses. Pros? It is suggested that a harness reduce chances of neck and back injuries if your dog pulls, although there isn't any good evidence about which sort might reduce the risk or which might be harmful, and its a much kinder and safer way of managing your dog or puppy's pulling before he has been taught to walk on a loose lead, or walk next to you. Cons? Likely to reward pulling behaviour unless you are good at teaching the dog to discriminate between 'pulling on a harness means you get to go whereever you want' and 'pulling on a collar means you never get to go where you want' (a tricky lesson for dog and owner to learn!). It also reinforces (rewards) the dog for being ahead of you when on lead...not helpful when you probably want the dog to learn to follow you, or be at your side, and drop behind you going through doorways and gateways (so YOU see any potential hazards first...before the dog meets them head on). They can make 'pulling' much easier for the dog too...so a harness is unlikely to be suitable for a large heavy dog that has the potential to drag you places. Your dog should never learn it is possible to use his weight to to drag you places. Headcollars (see below) are likely to be a safer alternative for large dogs.
But as a rule a harness is an excellent short term management tool.
Note there are different sorts. Some are designed to pinch and hurt the dog for pulling (they tend to be the ones that fit under the dog's 'armpits'). They should never be used. There are also special harnesses for dogs that are trained to pull (e.g for tracking and sled dog work, or CaniX)
CosyDogs Fleece harnesses
Headcollars are an effective way to manage a heavy dog that is hard to control if he decides to lunge and drag you places, even if it is already pretty good on a collar and lead. It is important you learn how to handle the dog correctly on a collar and lead first though i.e. you must never use the lead to move, or drag, your dog about and the lead should always be loose, but not long. Some can ride up the dog's muzzle and rub, so watch out for that. All headcollars must be introduced with plenty of food treats and distractions to teach the dog to accept them happily. Get advice if you are unclear how to do this. Beware of it depressing the dog. Again, seek advice if this happens. Designs vary; there is not a lot to choose between the different types but some suit some shape muzzles better than others. I do not normally recommend headcllars which are designed to tuck a dog's muzzle downwards (e.g. Canny Collar).
Want a dog?
There's loads of advice out there - READ IT before buying!
Want an adult dog from a rescue shelter?
There are thousands of unwanted dogs needing homes. Some are simply abandoned; others may be given up by owners who can no longer keep them. Rescue shelters aren't a cheap alternative to a pedigree puppy, and a reputable rescue will exercise just as much care in vetting you as suitable to have one of their dogs as any reputable puppy breeder should be. They should offer support afterwards.
Want a puppy?
If you want a puppy then make sure you go to a reputable, decent breeder. Even if you don't want a pedigree, 'posh' KC registered puppy, don't touch ANY breeder that can't satsify certain conditions or you could be supporting the dreadful puppy farming trade where people posing as nice, family dog breeders exploit and abuse dogs in order to sell puppies. They are also much more likely to give you loads of probelms - behaviourally and healthwise. But puppy farmers know how to NOT look like puppy dealers and farmers, so beware!
Please never buy from a puppy farm or puppy 'dealer'. Not only are you setting yourself up for a lot of heartache and maybe huge expense (major health or behaviour problems are very common) you are supporting an industry that abuses the bitches they breed from on a massive scale, as well as the puppies they rear. Unconvinced? Want to know more?
How to tell where a pup is coming from?